Taking the reins of Environment Ministry after Jayanthi Natarajan's controversial exit, M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday 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)," said the Petroleum Minister, who assumed the additional charge of the Environment Ministry this morning.
His comments came amid reports that Natarajan was asked to quit the Ministry last week because of complaints that she was holding up environmental clearances to big ticket projects worth thousands of crores and thus impeding growth.
Moily, while rejecting any possibility of conflict of interest because of his holding Petroleum Ministry, asserted that he would strictly follow the rules while considering projects for clearances.
"Everything has its space. Petroleum has its space.... every ministry has a space....Ultimately, we have to go by the rules of the game which have been laid out by any ministry. We should not cross it. There should not be any fear or favour while discharging the duties," he said.
Contending that "as far as possible nothing should be left to discretion," he said, "Ultimately, we have to go by the rules of the game which are laid down by the Ministry. People may have a lot of expectations....but we will have to go strictly according to the rules of the game." On the issue of conflict of interest, Moily cited his experience as Minister for Law, Corporate Affairs and Petroleum and said he had effectively dealt with such issues.
Asked about the opposition charge that the green image of the Ministry may be compromised after the change of guard, he said, "There will be no compromise.... We will have to maintain (it)....I don't want to compromise the basic environmental principles....the benchmark of this Ministry."