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Fasting Ganga activist to give up water too

Scientist-turned-environmentalist Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, who is on a fast for the last 100 days, wants the centre to abort its dam-building plan.

delhi Updated: Sep 20, 2013 00:19 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

Scientist-turned-environmentalist Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand has threatened to stop the intake of water from Saturday — the 101st day of his fast to save the Ganga.

The decision is the result of government apathy for the deplorable condition of the river and ignoring his fast, Swami Sanand formerly known as GD Agarwal, 82, said on Thursday in a fresh letter (HT has a copy) to the President, the chief justice of India and the Prime Minister – who is also the chairperson of the National Ganga River Basin Authority.

Agarwal had started his fast on June 13 seeking to abort the proposal to build dams on the river. It coincided with the second death anniversary of Swami Nigamananda, who had reportedly died of organophosphate poisoning after 72 days of fasting for a similar demand.

In response to Agarwal’s earlier fast in June 2012, the Centre had announced a stay on dam construction on the Bhagirathi river, one of the tributaries of the Ganga. His seeks stay on dams on the other half of Ganga — the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers.

“Koi vikalpa nahee lagta, tapasya aakhri vikalpa hota hai (when there is no alternative, penance is the only option),” Agarwal told HT on Tuesday from Swami Shivanand’s ashram at Kankhal near Haridwar.

From an IIT Delhi don to a scientist and finally an activist, he wants to restore the ancient sanctity and purity of the holy river.

“Our plea is for an immediate moratorium on dams on the Alaknanda and Mandakini to save his precious life and call for a dialogue. The NGRBA has done nothing, all the members should resign,” said Manas Ranjan Mishra, former researcher at the Department of Atomic Energy.