The Congress may have to eat humble pie. After accusing BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of crony capitalism, the Congress-led UPA government recently gave its nod for two major Adani projects pegged at Rs13,580 crore. Only last week, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhu had alleged that Modi gave away precious land to the Adani Group for the price of a toffee (Re1). "You don't even get toffee for Re1 these days," he quipped at a rally.
Official documents with dna show that on March 13, 2014, Union minister of environment and forests (MoEF) M Veerappa Moily accorded "amendment to environmental clearance" nod for a Rs7,020 crore-worth Adani Power Rajasthan Limited project and Rs6,560 crore-worth Adani Power Maharashtra Limited project. Both the projects were mooted during Congress rule in the two states and were stuck since July last year. At present, the BJP is in power in Rajasthan.
The two thermal power projects, Adani's 3300MW plant in Tiroda, Maharashtra, and 1330MW plant in Kawai, Rajasthan, had come to the MoEF on July 22, 2013, for amendment in environmental clearance. The power projects in Rajasthan and Maharashtra got environmental clearance in May 2011 and April 2010 respectively. Both had applied for "change of source of coal" but their applications were not considered till December.
The first push came after the MOEF's expert appraisal committee cleared them in January 2014. The projects got the green signal last month when Moily's ministry issued the "amendment to environmental clearance".
Since taking over as environment minister from Jayanthi Natarajan in December 2013, Moily has cleared 26 big projects, including Adani and Essar among others, worth Rs2.04 lakh crore.