Courting a possible controversy, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday called the practice of wearing the coloured robe at convocation ceremonies “barbaric colonial relics” and removed his own gown at one such event.
“I still have not been able to figure out after 60 years of Independence why we stick to this barbaric colonial relics,” Ramesh said while addressing students at the convocation of the Indian Institute of Forest Management.
“I don’t know why we cannot carry out convocation ceremonies in a business-like manner... Why we cannot have a convocation in simple dress instead of coming dressed up as medieval vicars and popes,” he asked, as he removed his gown worn over his white kurta.
Denying that his ministry was stalling highway projects by not granting environmental clearances, he said, “The ministry of environment and forests has accorded sanction in 98 per cent cases.”
Ramesh, however, added that he was firm on not granting clearance to projects that threatened vital tiger corridors. “There is the case of NH-7 that passes from near Pench Tiger reserve and another ... close to Kaziranga National Park, where permission has not been given as they are close to ecologically sensitive areas.”