Controversy over Environment Ministry''s green signal to Maheswar dam project continued today with lawyer Prashant Bhushan alleging that a Congress leader tried to "force" public finance institutions to sanction money to an RBI-debarred concern affiliated to the project promoters. His allegation a week after Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh gave sanction to the controversial project in Madhya Pradesh. Addressing a press conference, Bhushan claimed the company was not not entitled to any money from any public financial institutions under reserve bank guidelines. But a Congress leader forced financial institutions to sanction money, he said. "And an FIR needs to be registered and needs to be investigated and prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act," he added. Bhushan also suggested that the Environment Ministry should be modelled on the lines of Lokpal, which should be independent of the government. The PTI reported.
MoEF Decision on Maheshwar Hydroelectric Project, Madhya Pradesh
Note circulated on Maheshwar Dam (lifting of stay order by MoEF)
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had suspended the work on the private Maheshwar Hydel Project being built by the S.Kumars group on the Narmada river on 23rd of April, 2010, in light of the failure of the rehabilitation and resettlement process and the violations of the conditions of the statutory environmental clearance dated 1.05.2001.
Recently, the Ministery has lifted the stop work order but at the same time it is mentioned in the order itself that the rehabilitation of oustees has not been done. It is also mentioned therein that there has been pressure on the MOEF from many quarters especially from PMO and he had “no option but to lift the stop work order”. The Minister Shri Jairam Ramesh also publicly stated that he is being forced to take illegal actions.
It is a very serious state of our democracy where an Union Ministry is not allowed to perform its statutory and constitutional duty. There are also serious financial issues involved with the project and the project promoters – the S.Kumars group. The viability of the project is also itself in question.
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