New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary on Tuesday raised many eyebrows by saying that "not just film industry and other work spaces, even Parliament is not immune to the casting couch".
Chaudhury also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for denigrating her as a woman in the past by indirectly referring to her as "Surpnakha" in Parliament when she had laughed at one of his statements.
Chaudhury's remark came after veteran Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan said that casting couch was prevalent in all sectors, and not just in the film industry where it "provides livelihood at least". Khan later apologised for her comment.
"Yes, it is the bitter truth. The whole film industry may get up in arms against me. It's just not in the film industry, this happens everywhere, in work spaces, with women. It happens everywhere. So, don't imagine that Parliament is immune or some other work space is immune. It's not," Chowdhary told reporters.
"... if you look at the western world today, established top actresses have taken this long to come out and say 'me too'. It's time India stood up and say 'me too'," she added.
Chowdhary said the term "casting couch" cannot be narrowed down to one sphere.
"It means when you take away the privileges of women and use it for your personal benefit, or in lieu of other compensation," the Congress leader said, adding that there is a law to prevent sexual harassment at workplaces.
"When the country's Prime Minister insult a woman, that is denigrating. That is against law. That is denigrating my status as woman.
"You have taken away my dignity in Parliament, when the Prime Minister has spoken in a way that is derogatory to my status as a woman. Can a PM say that I remind him of Surpnakha. I am Surpanakha, I don't want to become Sita," said Chaudhury.
She said: "When Home Minister (MoS) Kiren Rijiju uploads offensive videos against me, only because I had the courage to speak. So, when they talk in a way, that is derogatory to my status as women. It exists in Parliament... they talk about us like this and they are derogatory," she added.
Chowdhary said: "I am backing every women. Like I said, forget 'me too', this is 'you too'. We have to say this."
Bhubaneswar, April 24 (IANS) Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday requested Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to set up an airport in Odisha's industrial town Paradip.
In a letter, Pradhan sought the personal attention of Prabhu to examine the techno-economic feasibility for setting an airport at Paradip as soon as possible.
"The grand vision of development of Paradip would remain incomplete without an airport providing air connectivity, as the nearest Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar is 135 kms away and takes more than three hours by road," he said , adding that the Paradip Port Trust has already requested the Airport Authority of India to set up an airport there.
Paradip is one of the major ports in eastern India and last year became one of the three ports in India to have handled a total cargo of over 100 million tons.
The port is being further expanded and modernized and it is expected that by 2020 it would be able to handle 332 million tons of cargo per annum thereby making it the largest port in India, said Pradhan.
He said the Union government has declared Paradip Port as a Smart Port Industrial City, which is fast emerging as a major industrial hub in Odisha and Eastern India.
Besides having the port, Paradip already has an oil refinery of 15 MMTPA capacity, a 12 MMTPA pellet plant, two fertilizer plants together of 4 MMTPA capacity and a edible oil refinery, he said.
In addition, Pradhan said that his Ministry is implementing several big ticket industrial projects, including expansion of refinery to 21 MMTPA from 15 MMTPA, a 700 TMT Poly Propylene plant by 2018 and a 355 TMT Mono Ethyl Glycol unit by 2023-24 which will feed various downstream industries including plastics, paints, rubber and synthetic yarn industries, and all these initiatives "require seamless connectivity".