- Every time we cut trees, we plant more, says Prakash Javadekar
- He says trees have been cut for rallies of others too
- The minister asks why there was no such awareness previously
Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday defended the cutting of trees for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll rally, saying it has been done earlier as well, but more trees were planted.
His remarks come a day after the opposition parties alleged that some trees on the Sir Parshuram College campus in Maharashtra's Pune were being chopped for PM Modi's rally on October 17 that will be held on the college ground.
"Every time we cut trees, we plant more. It is a rule of the forest department," Mr Javadekar told reporters in Mumbai.
"And why is there so much fuss about cutting trees for PM Modi's rally? Trees have been cut for rallies of others too, and for rallies of previous prime ministers. I wonder why there was no such awareness previously," he said.
On the issue of farmer suicides in Maharashtra, Mr Javadekar said, "We inherited the issue from the previous (Congress-NCP) government."
"Farmers' suicides are happening only in five districts because there were no irrigation facilities," the minister said.
He also hit out at the NCP, blaming it for the current crisis in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank.
"The PMC bank crisis is a sin of the NCP," he said.
After the Rs 4,000 crore scam was unearthed at the bank, which has deposits of over Rs 11,000 crore, the Reserve Bank of India last month appointed an administrator to oversee the bank operations, and capped withdrawals at Rs 1,000.
Later, the withdrawal cap was hiked to Rs 40,000, with the RBI saying that it will give relief to 77 per cent of depositors.
Mr Javadekar also welcomed the BJP's demand of Bharat Ratna for VD Savarkar.
The BJP's Maharashtra unit on Tuesday sought the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, for VD Savarkar in its manifesto for the October 21 state polls.
"We are happy that the manifesto has mentioned the demand that VD Savarkar and Phule (social reformers Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Phule) be honoured with the Bharat Ratna," the minister said.
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