Criticising the Narendra Modi government on its third anniversary today, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh has accused the BJP-led NDA dispensation of “weakening” the laws related to environment.
Ramesh, who handled environment portfolio in the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government at Centre, also slammed the BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, saying the latter had tried to “destroy” environment when he was heading the ministry.
“In last three years, the environmental-related laws have been weakened. This government talks a lot about environment, but their actions are contradictory to their talks. Today, I am worried about environment as various laws related to environment are being destroyed,” the Congress leader told reporters at a press conference.
Targeting Javadekar, currently holding HRD portfolio, Ramesh said the BJP leader acted against safeguarding environment when he was handling the ministry.
“When he (Javadekar) was environment minister, he used to say that he has cleared scores of projects. I told him that his job was not to give (environmental) clearances but to safeguard environment,” he said.
Ramesh said environment minister Anil Dave, who passed away recently, had supported him when he was looking after the portfolio.
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Ramesh had served as environment minister during 2009-2011. “Dave had supported me on the issues of Lavasa, BT brinjal, but unfortunately he passed away and (I have) no idea what new minister will do,” he said, adding that ministers in the present government have no say as they are there only for namesake.
When asked to comment on scrapping of the Special Planning Authority (SPA) status of Lavasa, the country’s first private hill city project in Pune district, Ramesh said he had red-flagged the project in the past.
The SPA status of Lavasa was revoked recently by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.