New Delhi: The issue of Western Ghats and row over implementation of a green report on it made headlines during 2013, which at its fag end saw the controversial exit of Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan from the Union Council of ministers.
Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily took over additional charge of the Green Ministry. The surprise resignation triggered speculation whether her exit was related to the party work in view of the coming Lok Sabha polls or due to reported complaints from industry that her ministry was holding up environmental clearances to projects worth thousands of crores of rupees.
Taking over the reins of the Environment Ministry, Moily promised speedy decisions on clearances without compromising image of the green regulator.
"I am the one who is accustomed to dispose of the files by the evening. Not even a single file will be taken home and not even a single file will be pending unless it requires yet another (look)," the senior Minister said.
He also promised a review of a controversial report on Western Ghats which had earned Natarajan the wrath of political parties and religious groups from Kerala.
Environment Ministry had notified the report on Western Ghats prepared by K Kasturirangan-led panel which has recommended prohibition on development activities in 60,000 sq km ecologically sensitive area spread over six states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
However, the ministry, stung by the protests in Congress- ruled states like Kerala and Maharashtra, had clarified that there was no ban on agriculture and plantations activities along the Western Ghats.