Two Ganga authority members resign against government inaction
Two non-official members of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGBRA) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday resigned after the Centre failed to intervene to end fast up to death of former IIT professor GD Aggarwal.
Aggarwal had started his protest in Haridwar from this January --- amid assembly elections in the state --- accusing the central government for failing to act on its promise to save Ganga from exploitation and maintain minimum flow to save the river. He was taking no food and surviving on water.
But, the government did not relent and refused to stop all hydro electric projects coming up on river Ganga as demanded by Aggarwal. From March 8, he stopped even taking water resulting fast deterioration of his health.
“His (aggarwal’s) health is extremely critical. We have been requesting the Government to immediately intervene but no action has been taken so far,” said Rajender Singh, RH Siddiqi and Ravi Chopra, two non-official members of NGRBA, in their resignation letter to PM Singh.
The Prime Minister had set up the authority about three years ago after declaring Ganga as the country’s first national river. The authority was mandated to frame policies and take up cleaning up of the river to prevent its “slow” death.
The three members said that there has been no meeting of the authority for last one and a half years inspite of repeated requests. “It is also on record that no worthwhile action has been taken by the Authority on any of the critical issues concerning the river Ganga. The government has also not fulfilled any of its promises: the pollution in the river Ganga continues and more and more projects are being approved which are adversely affecting the flow in the river,” they said in the resignation letter.
They also said that any further delay and lack of response from the government may result in grave tragedy, which would be unpardonable. “We also feel at this juncture, our moral responsibility to fully support the cause of river Ganga for which Agarwal is struggling,” they said.