The environment ministry has finally blinked; at least partially.
On Tuesday, environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan signed onto the move, first initiated by the tribal affairs ministry, to exempt the so-called linear projects like construction of roads, canals and the laying of transmission lines from obtaining the consent of the village councils ahead of getting a forest clearance.
The move could unlock some infrastructure projects that had got caught in the crossfire. Resumption of construction would no doubt stoke a multiplier effect and also benefit local communities through better connectivity as in the case of roads.
It is also a tacit acceptance by sections of the government to exercise their dissent selectively and not in a wholesale manner, which was resulting in all infrastructure projects being held hostage.