Bangalore: Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh today said unlike him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not capable of maintaining a relationship with those disagreeing with him on environmental issues.
“The difference between him (Modi) and me is I am far more comfortable with those (environmentalists) who disagree with me. I disagree on most of the things, but you know I have the most agreeable relationship with those who disagree with me. I don't think Mr Modi is capable of that,” he said here.
Ramesh said, “I am not sure he (Modi) says that the environment should be integrated with growth but in actual
practice, if that integration means making choices which means no dams across Ganga; which means no ore mines near Tiger reserves, then I am not sure that Mr Modi will follow what I would recommend.”
When told that Modi seems to be following in his footsteps on environmental issues, Ramesh, a former environment minister, said, “There are many words I may have used which others have used.”
“But, yes when I said that in India toilets are more important than temples, VHP and RSS (people) came and urinated outside my house, but when Narendra Modi said “Souchalay Devalayon se bhi jyada mahatva rakhte hain” (Toilets are more important than Temples) - everybody clapped.
In India he is recognised as a value and I hope something comes out of it,” he added.
Delivering a lecture on “Responsible to science, Responsive to Society: A New Dialogue”, Ramesh suggested five-pronged approach to take the dialogue forward.
He said, “To carry forward this dialogue science needs to be less arrogant and society less suspicious. Science also needs to listen and society needs to hear.”
“Moreover, science needs to be opened to scepticism, society needs to be opened to question. Science needs to be proactive in communication, society needs to be less sensationalist and conspiratorial,” he added.
Ramesh further said, “Science needs to develop trust, society needs to nurture trust. If people follow some of these basic principles and get people together, we will be able to take this dialogue forward.”
The great problem in Indian system is the lack of institutional forums where people from different points of view can actually sit down and debate, he said.