Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat was stalled for years by “urban Naxals” and “anti-development elements” and noted that the standard of living of citizens cannot be improved without the creation of modern infrastructure.
The Prime Minister, who inaugurated the National Conference of Environment Ministers in Ekta Nagar, Gujarat, via video conferencing, said the effort should be that no needless objections are created in the name of the environment in the path of ease of living and ease of doing business. He pointed out that it took decades to complete the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam due to the “conspiracies” carried out in the name of the environment. The Prime Minister identified the role of urban Naxals in “hindering the development” of India by taking crores of rupees from different global organizations and foundations.
The Prime Minister said that Sardar Sarovar Dam was initiated by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru but urban Naxals came to the fore and some others outside the country joined them, there was a lot of campaign that it is against the environment and it was stopped repeatedly.
“The work that was initiated by Nehruji was completed during my tenure. How much money of the country was wasted? Today the same Ekta Nagar is an environment pilgrimage place. How many lies were spread? And these urban Naxals are not quiet today, they are playing their games today. Their lies have been caught but they are not willing to accept and they now get political patronage of some people,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also pointed out the conspiracies of such people due to which the World Bank had refused to give a loan to increase the height of the dam. “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,” the Prime Minister added. He also urged everyone to stay alert from such groups of urban Naxals in their respective states.
“To impede India’s progress, some global institutions, some foundations catch such favourite topics and create a storm and these urban Naxals take up them and roadblocks are created,” he said.
The Prime Minister reiterated that more than 6000 proposals for environmental clearance and 6500 applications for forest clearance are lying with the states. “Efforts should be made by the states to clear every proper proposal soon. You can guess that due to this pendency, projects worth thousands of crores of rupees will be stuck.”, he added.
The Prime Minister also emphasised the need to bring about a change in the work environment so that the pendency goes down and clearance is expedited. The Prime Minister further added that in giving environmental clearance, “we also take care of the rules and give priority to the development of the people of that area”.
“It is a win-win situation for both the economy and ecology. It should be our endeavour that by raising the name of the environment unnecessarily, no obstacle should be allowed to be created in the quest of Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business. We have to remember that the faster the environment clearance is available, the faster the development will also take place.”
“Today’s new India is moving ahead with new thinking, new approach,” he said.
He said India is a rapidly developing economy, and it is continuously strengthening its ecology as well. “Our forest cover has increased and wetlands are also expanding rapidly”, he said.
The Prime Minister remarked that the world is joining India because of its track record of fulfilling its commitments.
“Lions, tigers, elephants, one-horned rhinos and leopards have increased in numbers over the years. New excitement has returned from the homecoming of Cheetah in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago,” he said.
Drawing attention to the net zero target for the year 2070, the Prime Minister said that the focus of the country is on green growth and green jobs. He stressed the need to maintain equilibrium with nature and highlighted the role of the environment ministries of the states in achieving these goals.