Demands for taking back Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka, constitutional status for Bhojpuri, setting up of a Project Rhino, resolution of Mhadei river water dispute were among several issues raised in the Lok Sabha today. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, K N Ramachandran (AIADMK) expressed concern over growing harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen from Sri Lankan Navy. He said as part of finding a permanent solution, India should take back the Katchatheevu island given to it in 1974 as suggested by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. He contended that the island, which has been vital for Indian fishermen, could be taken back given the fact that the concerned agreement has not been ratified by Parliament. Sanjay Jayaswal (BJP) pleaded for putting Bhojpuri language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution insisting that the demand has been pending for long despite 32 crore people in the country speaking the language. Congress member Gaurav Gogoi made a strong plea for setting up of a Project Rhino on the lines of Project Tiger to help protect the rhinos which are under increasing attack from poachers for its horn. Ram Prasad Sarma (BJP) called for handing over the security at the Kaziranga national park to the CISF alleging that illegal Bangladeshis were involved in activities of killing the rhinos and taking away the horns. Prakash Hukkeri (Congress) stressed the need for resolving the situation caused by the interim award on the sharing of Mhadei river waters.
He said a serious situation has arisen following denial of Karnataka's demand by the tribunal and MPs and MLAs in parts of the state were being pressurised to resign their seats. Satyapal Singh (BJP) made a strong pitch for conferring posthumously the highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna on Swami Dayanand Saraswati, for his pioneering social work through the Arya Samaj. Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) wanted the import of incense sticks from China and Vietnam be stopped alleging that the products have harmful chemicals. K C Venugopal (Congress) drew the attention of the government to reports of a Kerala Minister who wanted to go to Saudi Arabia to meet thousands of stranded Indian workers, including those from the state, being denied a diplomatic passport. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar then said that the External Affairs Minister would speak on the matter on Monday.