A discussion on a resolution demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee on the status of air, water and land pollution in the Rajya Sabha Friday saw the ruling party and Opposition members exchange taunts over the country’s “polluted political discourse”.
The supposed benefits of rituals such as yagna in eradicating diseases also found mention in the intervention of BJP MP Ram Chander Jangra, who also participated in the discussion. The resolution was moved by Congress MP Amee Yajnik, who said despite having agencies such as the Central Pollution Control Board, state pollution control boards in every state, and the National Green Tribunal, enforcement of laws remains a problem.
“By taking them singularly or isolatedly we are creating a lot of multiplicity of levels. We are also creating a lot of layers in implementation of the laws. We are also not taking into consideration how do you deal with the implementing agencies,” Yajnik said.
BJP MP Amar Patnaik underlined the link between climate change and inequity in his speech. RJD MP Manoj Jha said the arguments of the authorities betray a lack of seriousness to deal with the issue of pollution. Jha said the poorer sections of the society are suffering more due to toxic air.
Jha added: “I believe we should also think about cleansing our minds considering the extent to which our political life and discourse have become polluted”— remarks that BJP MPs who spoke after him used to criticise the Opposition.
Jangra, elected to the Upper House from Haryana, said during outbreak of diseases in villages, people hold havans and yagnas and the resultant smoke “helps eradicate diseases”. “Our elders were bigger scientists than us. Today, even American scientists say that the Gayatri mantra triggers positive vibes. But if we are to say this in this country then the secularism of some people will be hurt, and they will term it communal. So we need to end this mental pollution, only then we can fight air pollution.”
BJP MP, Ajay Pratap Singh, hit out at Jha, saying: “This House is meant for people to jump on its tables. When you throw papers at the chairman, even that is a form of pollution. That is intellectual pollution. If our sister (Yajnik) is concerned about pollution, then she should make them understand that this House is not meant for hooliganism,” he added
In his speech, BJP MP Hardwar Dubey questioned the absence of Opposition MPs during the discussion. “When the issue is so important, then members should be present in the House, but what isn’t that the case? Some people come here just to create noise which is also a form of pollution,” he said.