Staff Correspondent

He advocates implementing Sethu Samudram project

Chitradurga: The Sethu Samudram project must be implemented without any delay, since it is in the interest of the nation and development, said social activist and founder of Sarva Dharma Samsath, Swami Agnivesh.

Award

Speaking to presspersons before receiving the Basavashri award here on Monday, he said that development works should not be prevented in the name of religion. “Sethu Samudram project would help several people in the coastal area, so it should not be stopped from being implemented.”

The swamiji, who is known as a fire-brand, said, “I strongly believe that had he been alive and had been the Prime Minister of the country today, Lord Ram would himself have ordered for the completion of the project,” he said.

Asked whether his statement would not hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community, the swamiji said, “Even I am a Hindu, so is Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi; we advocate the idea of implementing the project.”

He declined to comment on the controversial remarks made by Mr. Karunanidhi on Ram, stating that it was his [Karunanidhi’s] personal remarks.

Nuclear deal

To a question on the contentious Indo-American nuclear deal, he made it clear that the deal must take place, and there should not be any disagreement over it by any party.

“When a country like China, despite going ahead with the deal, has retained its sovereignty, why can’t India do the same,” the swamiji questioned.

To another question on promoting Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the country, he said that, as part of globalisation, SEZs should be introduced, but not at the cost of farmers’ interest. The Governments should give priority to safeguard the interests of farmers before implementing any scheme, he said.

The swamiji said that he was studying the new rehabilitation policy being announced by the Union Government.

Thought he advocated the idea of SEZs, he said that rights of the lands should be retained by farmers and not by multinational companies.

“Instead of selling the land, they could be leased out to multinational companies; this would ensure that ownership would remain with the farmers, who will not be exploited by the foreign companies,” he said.

He also suggested that the Government should allot only dry and non-agricultural land for SEZs.

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