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Call to scrap single window system to sanction industries along the coast

13 May 2008

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

CUDDALORE: Environmental activists, ecologists and consumer organisations have voiced their concern over the "single window clearance" concept for sanctioning industries, particularly in coastal areas.

A host of such issues were discussed at the meeting of representatives of the coastal community and self-help groups, convened here recently by the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action (CAG), along with the Cuddalore District Consumer Protection Organisation.

In the aftermath of the tsunami, it had become imperative on part of policy-makers and the government to initiate measures to protect the fragile coastal ecosystem, they said.

Hence, scrapping of the single window system and reverting to the earlier practice of scrutinising the entire gamut of issues involved was ideal, according to Rajesh Rangarajan of the CAG, that is involved in post-tsunami environmental restoration projects in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Mr. Rangarajan told The Hindu that the single window concept promised to clear projects within 30 days. Earlier, at least a dozen departments would address issues such as environment and land acquisition in a focussed manner. The government should reconsider whether such industries should be located in coastal areas, as they polluted the sea by discharging untreated effluents.It was a matter of concern that the Coastal Zone Regulation Act had been amended to facilitate the location of industries on the coast. When the Cheyyur power project ran into trouble due to widespread public outcry, those responsible were targeting the ecologically-sensitive Marakkanam area for shifting the project.

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