Environment Minister Anil Dave today announced lifting of moratorium on expansion of industrial units and setting up of new plants in the industrial clusters of Ankleshwar, Vapi and Vatva in Gujarat.
The moratorium had been placed by the UPA government in 2010 on the ground that these three clusters, developed by Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation, were critically polluted.
"Announced removal of moratorium on Ankleshwar, Vapi and Vatva GIDC as critically polluted industrial clusters. No restriction on development," Dave, Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, tweeted.
Earlier in the day, he made the announcement at a gathering of industrialists organised by 'Ankleshwar, Panoli and Vapi Industries Associations' at Ankleshwar.
"On January 10th or 13th in 2010, as the sun rose, darkness descended on Ankleshwar as you were told you can't expand industry and carry out development activity because you are causing pollution. A restriction was imposed. Today I have come here to remove that restriction," Dave said.
"I'm a simple Swayamsevak, a volunteer of Narendra Modi's team, a minister in his cabinet. I have come here to tell you today that there will no longer be any restriction in the development of Ankleshwar (GIDC). You are free," he said.
The audience welcomed the announcement with a loud cheer of "Bharat Mata Ki Jai".
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who also attended the event, alleged that the UPA government tried to stall development of Gujarat by imposing restrictions on these GIDCs.
"The decision was taken to victimise Gujarat...So that the state's industrial development does not happen. The restriction was imposed with this purpose in the name of environment," Rupani said.
"I assure Anil ji after today's decision that environment will be taken care of by the industry. The announcement will give a new direction for industries to grow," he said.
Pending proposals of expansion and investment in Ankleshwar and surrounding industrial areas worth over Rs 10,000 crore will now be cleared, CM added.
"Expansion files have been pending for setting up of new industry. Now that this has been resolved, Ankleshwar, Panoli, along with Vatva, will get new industrial units, and (generate) jobs for youths," he said.
(Reopens BOM 8)
Dave said the belief that environment and development cannot go together is a "myth".
He said the whole cluster cannot be held responsible for the pollution caused by some polluting industries therein. He also assured his Ministry would not hesitate to make necessary amendments in the existing laws to the ensure this.
He said from now, the manufacturer need not take any permission if total production and the pollution level remains the same.
Besides, the Minister also assured the Centre would mediate to resolve the inter-state issues to set up industry on state borders.
He also encouraged industrialists to produce finished products rather than raw material.