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Greenpeace demands cancellation of Mahan forest clearance

India Blooms News Service | | 16 Apr 2014, 10:30 pm
New Delhi, Apr 16 (IBNS): With another multi-crore scam tainting the UPA government, fresh evidence has surfaced on Wednesday exposing how Environment and Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily favoured Essar by gifting it Rs 52,000-crore worth Ratna oil field, off the Mumbai coast1, Greenpeace said.

 

“This new evidence that Mr Moily was already predisposed towards Essar explains why the last minute clearance to meet the Coal Ministry deadline on de-allocations was made by him. Given that both the Ministers preceding Moily have recorded their disapproval of forest clearance for this project, the clearance decision must be revisited, and taken on a genuine objective basis, by an independent, untainted decision-maker. Until that is done, the clearance decision should be considered null and void,” said Vinuta Gopal, Head of Climate and Energy, Greenpeace India.

On Feb 12, Moily granted Stage II clearance to Mahan Coal Limited, a Essar-Hindalco joint venture, to mine in the Mahan Forests in Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh. Greenpeace had then written to the Prime Minister to sack Moily.

Following Greenpeace’s protests against Essar’s proposed coal mine in Mahan, the company slapped a Rs 500-crore defamation and gag suit in the Bombay High Court against Greenpeace and villagers of Mahan. The company went to the extent of asking the court to ban Greenpeace from demanding the sacking of the environment minister.

Veerappa Moily was given the additional portfolio of the Environment Ministry at the fag end of the Manmohan Singh government, even while he was holding the Petroleum and Natural Gas portfolio. 
 
The Ratna oil field clearance as well as the Mahan forest clearance by the same minister in a short span of two months is a clear example of conflict of interest. Greenpeace has been warning of this ever since his appointment.