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Corporates cheer as India's oil minister takes charge of green clearances

Published on Feb 2, 2014 11:16 AM

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - Mr Veerappa Moily has two seemingly incompatible jobs.

As oil minister, he has overseen India's petroleum and natural gas needs. But now he also runs the environment ministry, where he has issued permits for 100 stalled projects in a month-long spree that has delighted industry but shocked green activists.

Since taking the additional environment portfolio on December 24, he has given his go-ahead to projects worth some US$40 billion (S$51 billion), including Posco's US$12.6 billion steel plant and forest clearances for India's first major hydropower projects in the wilderness state of Arunachal Pradesh, near a contested border with China.

Mr Moily's haste is part of a last-minute push by India's outgoing government to revive investment in the economy after two years of growth at decade lows. The general election is due by May.

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