New Delhi: Congress saw "no tussle" in Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan writing to the Prime Minister opposing any move to bypass required green clearances for mega project approvals by the proposed National Investment Board (NIB) mooted by Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

Downplaying the issue, party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said in a "democratic process" the ministers express their views on the proposals that come before the Cabinet.

"There is no tussle. This is a democratic process. The agenda of the Cabinet is circulated and all ministers are expected to express their views (on the proposals)," Chowdhary said.

In her letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, Natarajan said the manner in which changes have been sought on the issue of granting project approvals was disturbing and she wondered why NIB should step in when decisions like green clearances have to be given by her ministry.

The proposed NIB is envisaged to act as a final body for clearing big investment proposals after which no ministry will have power to raise objections.

Natarajan's opposition came even as a Cabinet Note on the planned NIB was circulated to the ministries. The Cabinet meeting is scheduled on Thursday morning.

Concerned over delay in implementation of mega infrastructure projects, Chidambaram had recently proposed a Prime Minister-headed NIB to accord speedy clearance to big ticket projects.

Several large projects involving investments of Rs 1.5 lakh crore are being held up because of delay in statutory clearances.

At the meeting of full Planning Commission last month, Chidambaram had proposed that the NIB's authority should extend to proposals/projects where the investment is above a certain threshold.

(Agencies)

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