Inaugurating the national conference of environment ministers in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat, via video conferencing, the PM also came down heavily on international institutions and foundations which came out with populist concepts quickly embraced by “urban Naxals” to create a song and dance and stall development projects.
“It took some time to thwart these conspiracies, but the people of Gujarat came out victorious. The dam was being described as a threat to the environment, and today the same dam has become synonymous with protecting the environment,” PM said as he recalled that the Sardar Sarovar project conceived by Sardar Patel and whose foundation was laid by first PM Jawaharlal Nehru could be completed only after 2001 when he took over as CM of Gujarat.
Modi said that the “urban Naxals” are so powerful that they can influence even World Bank, in what seemed to be a reference to the multilateral institution reversing his decision to fund the Sardar Sarovar project which was aimed at bringing Narmada water to parched parts of Gujarat.
Alleging conspiracies by vested interests to block development, he noted how “urban Naxals” and those conspiring against India’s economic growth presented numerous roadblocks for constructing modern infrastructure projects. Noting how it took decades to complete construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam due to such conspiracies, the PM alleged the conspirators hindered the development of India by taking crores of rupees from different global organisations and foundations.
The PM cited examples noting how faster green clearance would go a long way in saving the environment and strengthening the country’s efforts to fight climate change. He said the green clearances were now given in 75 days against 600 days eight years ago.
“I think that the role of the environment ministry is more as a promoter of the environment rather than as a regulator… Efforts should be made by the states to clear every proper proposal at the earliest (while taking care of all rules and giving priority to the development of the people of that area),” he said.
Citing an example of the Pragati Maidan Tunnel in Delhi that was opened for traffic a few weeks ago, he said, “Due to the tunnel, traffic jams have reduced. It will also help in saving more than 55 lakh litres of fuel every year. This will reduce carbon emissions by 13 thousand tonnes annually which is equivalent to more than 6 lakh trees… Be it flyovers, roads, expressways, or railway projects, their construction helps reduce carbon emissions equally.”