Kolkata, Aug 18: Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee Sunday expressed grave concern over the non-passage of the Food Security Bill, and blamed political parties for rendering parliament “non-functional” and stalling the bill.
“It’s a matter of grave concern that the Bill is yet to be passed. Who is to be blamed for that? Parliament has become non-functional. Political parties, who talk of welfare and development of the people, are not allowing parliament to function and pass the all important bill,” Chatterjee said on the sidelines of an event here.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh recently asserted that the bill, which aims to provide subsidised food grain at prices much below the market rate to around 67 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people, numbering around 800 million, will be passed at the earliest.
Speaking on “Environment and Its Impact on Society” at the 50-year celebration of J.D. Birla Institute, Chatterjee said the Food Security Bill must incorporate provisions regarding environment conservation.
Emphasising on the need for harmony between development and environment, Chatterjee asked environmentalists to dwell on the works of Rabindranath Tagore who had “passionately espoused the need for environmental protection”.
“Tagore first became concerned about man’s impact on the environment after seeing an oil spill at sea on his way to Japan in 1916, decades before an environmental movement emerged in the West. The experience provoked him to write at length about his annoyance at the way modern man was failing to respect nature,” said Chatterjee.
“I would urge environmentalists to undertake a serious study of Tagore who had passionately espoused about the need for environmental protection. The annual tree-planting ceremony in Shantiniketan that he started in 1927 is a reflectionion of his love for nature,” added Chatterjee.