New Delhi: Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday candidly said he has been forced to regularize illegality many times, but regretted he had to make compromises in cases relating to violation of green norms.

Calling the phenomenon a "peculiar Indian characteristic", Ramesh said he is totally against "regularizing illegality".

"Regularisation of illegality is a peculiar Indian characteristic. First you make the law and then break law...," he said during an interaction at a conference organised by the All India Management Association (AIMA) here.

"Unfortunately many times I am forced to regularize. Because I have no option because one refinery has been built... steel plant is built. So I am guilty in some cases of having actually condone many environmental violations.

"I am totally against regularising illegality."

To a question regarding the demolition of huge illegal constructions, the Minister said his decision to order demolition of Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai was to "send a signal" to the people who violate laws.

"In the case of Adarsh, matter is in the court and I don't want to say anything more. But my decision was very clear. The only option before me was to recommend complete demolition of Adarsh. Signal has to go to the people who violate law that violation of law will not be tolerated," he said.

Talking about the practice of construction of ports, cement factories and power plants in violation of laws, the Minister said in such cases "huge expenditure has been incurred" and "one has to be practical" while taking action.

"But at some points of time, the signal has to go that laws are laws and they should not be violated," Ramesh added.

Mining firms advised to invest abroad

Meanwhile, speaking on the environmental issues with regard to mining industry in the country, Ramesh advised Indian mining firms to "invest in using mines abroad" like the Japanese do.

"What Japanese do is they create value addition at home," the Minister said explaining the way Japan developed as a most advanced country despite lacking essential natural resources for industrial growth like coal, iron ore and boxite.

Criticising the "highly environmentally unfriendly" way of mining in the country, Ramesh said, "Just because we have natural resources in India it doesn't mean that we should exploit (them)."

It is the mining industry that brings the maximum environmental issues into the discussion table in the country, Ramesh said criticising the way mining is being done in the country and most importantly the post mining scenario.

"There is hardly any examples of regeneration of forests" the Minister said emphasising the need of regeneration of forests in the areas where mining is already completed.

(Agencies)