Jairam now takes on MPs

In letters to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, Ramesh launched a scathing attack on the MPs, pointing out how they show “serious conflict of interests” when they approach him on specific projects.

The minister alleged that members met bureaucrats dealing with environmental issues only “to put pressure on the officials.”

Classifying the MPs in three categories, Ramesh said while he did not have any problem with members lobbying for a particular project in his/her constituency or state, he had issues with the other two groups.

“The MPs in the first category approach me on behalf of the companies they run or with which they are closely associated.

“This is a blatant violation of norms. I have tried to discourage this but have not entirely succeeded,” Ramesh said.

Some MPs “approach me pleading for projects or arguing against projects that are neither in their state nor in their constituency.

“I find this also objectionable, especially when the same letter is signed by MPs from different states,” he added.  The letter, dated December 23, 2010, was written a week before before Kumar is to meet the members for two days in an apparent bid to find out a solution to end the logjam in  Parliament seen in the winter session on the telecom 2G scam. Ramesh requested Kumar and Ansari to take serious note of the first two categories because of the “conflict of interest” issues.

The chairpersons of both Houses have been requested to dissuade the Parliament members from meeting officials directly. “Such meetings are often used to put pressure,” he said. Ramesh had a run-in with Surface Transport Minister Kamal Nath on the widening of a road through the Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and Coal Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal on permitting coal mining inside pristine forests.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar to mediate between the Environment and Surface Transport Ministry for sorting out the problem in an amicable manner, the row between Ramesh and Jaiswal is still brewing in the Cabinet.

Ramesh had also locked horns with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and the then science minister, Prithviraj Chavan, on the introduction of genetically modified Bt brinjal in India. Despite the opposition, Ramesh put a moratorium on bt eggplant. Reliable sources said the minister in the past had issues with Congress Lok Sabha MP Naveen Jindal who was pushing for some of his steel plants.

Last month, the ministry issued a show-cause notice to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd on its integrated six-million tonne steel plant and 1000 MWe captive power plant at Angul in Orissa.

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