Shiv Sena on Wednesday heaped praise on Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh for clearing the new international airport in Navi Mumbai but demanded that locals should be given priority in jobs there.
In an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna titled "Jairam, Jairam, Jai Jairam", the Sena said it was thanks to a "stubborn" person like Jairam Ramesh that the country's environment is safe.
"Attempts are being made to get Jairam Ramesh shunted out of the environment ministry. But his 'stubborn' eco-friendly attitude is in the social, environmental and national interest," the editorial said.
For the greed and benefit of a few individuals, huge damage has been perpetrated on the country's ecology, mountains, rivers, forests, flora and fauna and even the sea, which will have repercussions in the future, and the ill-effects of which are already noticeable.
"For instance, the extended monsoon in Maharashtra and large parts of the country are an indication of ecological imbalance which has spelt doom for the kharif and rabi crops. It is the direct result of environmental depradation," the edit said, sounding a note of concern.
Under such circumstances, if a person like Jairam Ramesh stands up to protect the environment, he must be supported wholeheartedly as only he can safeguard the interests of the poor farmers and workers, it added.
Referring to the clearance for the new international airport in adjacent Navi Mumbai, the Sena said it was long overdue since the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) is already saturated by handling 2.5 crore passengers per annum.
However, now that the Navi Mumbai airport has finally 'taken off,' the Sena urged that locals must be given priority in the jobs that would be created there.
"If not, then it would imply that Jairam Ramesh, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan have bowed before the rich and a grave injustice meted out to the local population," it warned.