The new environment minister, Veerappa Moily, plays down change from his predecessors, though adding he has never believed in putting off things. In this Idea Exchange moderated by Maneesh Chhibber of The Indian Express, Moily adds Rahul has done ‘perfect homework’ for his new role and that Congress has a place in the democratic process that nobody can take
Anubhuti Vishnoi: The perception about your predecessors in the environment ministry, Jairam Ramesh and Jayanthi Natarajan, was that they were anti-industry. Tell us about the kind of ministry you inherited from Natarajan... the backlog of files and the challenges it threw up for you.
I need not speak about legacy. But I pick up from legacy. We do our policeman’s job many a time, and we need to apply the law very strictly. There is no compromise on that. If they (Ramesh and Natarajan) have done it, I find no fault with them. I also have to do the same thing.
Sunil Jain: The ONGC is facing a problem—all the gas that it is finding now is in the deep or ultra-deep water, which is why it is not able to find companies to partner with, especially with the CAG guidelines. ONGC does not have the capability to get into this deep water. How will you address their issue of finding a partner?
This is not correct. I have visited all these deep-into-the-sea places and discussed with them. They are capable, they have the proficiency, expertise and manpower. The only question is about a few places near Karaikal (Puducherry), Ramanathapuram (Tamil Nadu) and all those districts where you get a very different kind of a gas, which is very hard and requires injection of a new kind of technology. So, they are trying to get that technology, and they will get a partner.
Sunil Jain: We have this situation where the RIL has a gas field in D1 and D3. The government, rightly or wrongly, thinks that the RIL is suppressing production so that it can benefit from higher gas prices. RIL denies this. The easiest way to resolve this matter is to hire an expert. Given that you have been so proactive, why is it so difficult to get a neutral expert to figure out whether RIL is indeed keeping the gas?
I agree with you. A solution has to be found. There are two matters—one is before the arbitration. I don’t want to comment on