India needs economic growth but not at the cost of ecological security, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said Monday, stressing that a fundamentalist view on development or environment would harm the nation’s interests.
[ReviewAZON display=”searchquery” query=”environment” count=”5″ category=”All” page=”1″ sort=”default”]”My job is to ensure a balance between environment and development. India has witnessed an economic growth and we need it more, but we have to ensure that ecological security is maintained,” Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.
He was speaking at the 10th Editors Conference on social sector issues.
The minster said that India needed to walk on two legs. “We cannot be growth fundamentalists and we cannot be environment fundamentalist too. Somethings we have to say ‘yes’ to, somethings ‘no’ and somethings ‘yes, but…’.”
For example, he said, India needs 13,000 MW of electricity. “And 7,000 MW comes from coal-based power generators. We cannot say no to coal mining. Some of these coal mining areas are in rich forest areas which are ecologically sensitive. We have to maintain a balance.”
The minister said the government was identifying the areas where coal mining can be undertaken and where it cannot be allowed.
“We have distinguished some ‘go’ areas and ‘no-go’ areas. We have mapped the north Karanpura (Jharkhand) coalfield, where we have identified 59 mines, of which 38 are go areas.”
He said these forests have low tree density and coal mining can be done there.
Jairam Ramesh also stressed that as the environment minister he wanted to ensure that central legislation of the Forest Conservation Act and the Environment Protection Act were implemented properly.
“I won’t name them, but some states see them (these laws) as impediments,” he said.