SHILLONG Nov 17 - Union Minister of State for Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar today said the Modi government is decentralising power to speed up development and also to ensure people�s interest.
Speaking at a function organised by the Regional Office of the Union Ministry for Forest, Environment and Climate Change for dedicating its office building to the nation, Javadekar said the government has taken the decision to give more power to the regional offices in clearing various projects located in forest areas.
In the past, he said, clearing of projects used to take a lot of time, as all they filed would have to be clear by the Centre. �The situation is different now, as the Regional Offices have been given the powers to clear all the projects of public importance with the forest areas of 40 hactares,� Javadekar said, adding that �previously numerous projects could not be cleared for months and years, as they had to be decided by New Delhi�. In view of this decision, the Regional Offices have been able to clear approximately 800 cases across the country, out of which, the Shillong Regional Centre has been able to clear 36 cases so far.
With a view to protecting the environment and keeping the people�s interest in mind, the government has decided to set up an empowered committee to look in to various aspects of the forests and land systems, particularly in the autonomous areas of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council and Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council, which are different from the rest of the country. �In Meghalaya, the government, community and individual lands need to be studied in depth before coming up with a decision,� the Minister said.
�We need to look into the issues of environment, the people�s interest and sustainable development before taking a decision,� he said.
Expressing concern over exploitation of minor produces of the indigenous people by middlemen, Javadekar said there is a need to provide Minimum Support Price to these farmers citing Madhya Pradesh as an example.