ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Misplaced Optimism on a New Regulator

The Supreme Court order to create a new environment regulator may only add more bureaucracy.

On 9 January, the Supreme Court directed the government to establish an environment regulator at the national and state levels by 31 March. The regulator will evaluate projects on environmental aspects, regulate their clearance, monitor compliance of the conditions it sets for projects and penalise violators. Initial reports suggest that environmentalists have, by and large, welcomed the apex court’s orders.

Their reaction is not surprising. The order has come at a time when the government has warmed up to the industry like never before. It does not see any conflict of interest in giving Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Veerappa Moily additional charge of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The media is rife with speculation that the previous incumbent Jayanthi Natarajan was dumped because she was tardy in clearing projects. Moily has promised to make up for his predecessor’s laxity.

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