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A recent speech by the Indian President indicated that the government was increasingly finding environmental concerns a roadblock in pushing its growth mantra. “Bottlenecks and delays in implementation of infrastructure projects because of policies and procedures, especially in railways, power, highways, ports, airports and rural telecom, will be systematically removed,” Pratibha Patil said in the speech.

The speech reportedly comes after parleys in the government on easing environmental clearances which stated that these clearances are a big hurdle for speedy implementation of infrastructure projects.

The environment ministry has been under a lot of pressure from the industries ministry to make clearances more “industry-friendly” (read “don’t-care-too-much-about-the-environment”). Oh well, what do I say about it? Appears that what used to happen in developed countries decades back – and these countries have now become more sane – has started to happen in India now. I thought countries such as India were supposed to leapfrog over the developed countries by learning from the mistakes of those countries!