Jairam Ramesh's Hindi disease command draws opposition's flak in Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi, July 20 (ANI): Replying to parliamentary questions in English once again, Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh found himself in trouble on Monday when a BJP member objected to him not responding in Hindi in the Rajya Sabha.

During Question Hour, when Ramesh replied in English to a supplementary put to him in Hindi, it triggered a sharp reaction from Kalraj Mishra (BJP) who asked why was he not replying in Hindi despite being fluent in it.

To this Ramesh commented in Hindi: "Kalraj Mishraji yeh Mulayam Singhji ki bimari aap ko bhi pahuch gayi hai (this 'disease' of Mulyam Singh Yadav has reached you."

The minister's remark drew flak from the BJP, SP and BSP members, who said Hindi was not a disease.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh had objected to Ramesh's response to a question put to him during Question Hour.

Singh had said: "You know Hindi; you can speak in Hindi; this is not London." Conceding the point, the Minister switched to Hindi with ease.

Ramesh said in the Rajya Sabha that he was looking at cutting down the time taken in his ministry for processing applications for environment clearance for projects, but wanted a wider public hearing.

He said 210 days are given to complete all formalities for environment clearance for projects. eparately, 150 days are taken for giving forest clearance once projects have been cleared by state governments.

Ramesh said the 210-day deadline for environment clearance is extended in some projects involving wildlife sanctuary, environment fragile zone and complicated project requiring enough safeguards.

Of the 210 days' deadline, 60 days are for setting terms of reference for environment impact assessment, 45 days for public hearing, 60 days for environment impact appraisal and 45 days for communicating the decision, he said adding the 60 days taken by his ministry may be reduced to 45 days. (ANI)

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