Former environment minister Prakash Javadekar had in November last year withdrawn an advisory that charged 2% cess on industrial projects coming up near national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, documents accessed by HT revealed.

In the absence of any framework to make industries pay for damage on wildlife, 77 projects have been cleared since Javadekar’s intervention and 66 have done so without paying.

The Union environment ministry issued an advisory to states last October charging 2% cess on projects coming up near wildlife areas for implementing the ‘Impact Mitigation Plan’, but withdrew it within a month.

“This is serious. How can a working group’s recommendation form a policy without approval from the minister? Stop advisory,” Javadekar’s note to officials dated November 10, 2015, said, documents accessed under RTI Act by Rohit Choudhury of Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) showed.

The decision to issue the “policy advisory” was taken by the Standing Committee (SC) of National Board of Wildlife (NBWL ) — the highest decision making body of the government on wildlife — at a meeting chaired by Javadekar himself on August 18, 2015. Read more