Though meant to find the middle ground to reconcile differences between a worried industry and an activist environment minister, the interactive function, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) yesterday in New Delhi, only served to highlight the sharp divide between the two sides.
According to the DNA newspaper, while FICCI heavyweight and JK Paper MD Harsh Pati Singhania sought to point out ''impractical'' aspects of many environmental laws, Jairam Ramesh urged the industry to understand deeper issues that need to be considered for clearance of projects.
The report in the newspaper said, the minister asked the audience rhetorically if they were aware of why the files did not move. He asked if they were aware of the ground realities behind the tardy movement of the files related to the projects.
When asked why steel plants such as those of the Tata group at Kalinganagar had been held up for upwards of five years, he pointed out that 14 tribals had been shot dead in the agitation against Tata's plant in Kalinganagar in Orissa according to the DNA report.
''Are you aware of how firing took place and why people got killed? Are you aware of why Tatas have not been able to get off their greenfield project in Bastar or in Orissa? Are you aware of the ground-level issues of what is happening..? Please understand the magnitude of the problems that are involved and the complex reasons why these projects have not taken off the ground,'' he said.
He added that the proposed Posco project too was yet to find its mineral supply as yet.