Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh has been called India's green revolutionary, its green crusader; A title not undeserved for a minister able to defy king coal by securing a tax on its production and calling for an environmental levy on mining in addition to the wide array of laudable actions the Indian government is taking under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (PDF).
These actions, which firmly supported the concept that polluters pay, have placed Jairam Ramesh on a collision course with industries and ministries bent on business as usual. This includes high profile showdowns with UK based Vedanta who had plans to displace villagers in order to mine Bauxite in the Nyamgiri hills and the Indian Coal ministry over the "go/no-go" decisions to develop coal projects in forest zones nationwide.
Indian children protect themselves from coal ash.
But after an impressive bout of standing up to destructive development it seems the green revolutionary may be changing his colors. Among the most problematic in his recent project clearance spree have been clearances for a 10,000 megawatt nuclear power project in Maharashtra, a $12-billion steel plant to be built by South Korean firm Posco in Orissa, and the lifting of a moratorium on new projects in 8 highly polluted areas across India.