Brazenly ignored by the Modi Government, former IIT Professor and Secretary of Pollution Control Board, Professor G.D. Agarwal (Swami Sanand) laid down his life yesterday, 11 Oct 2018, for the sake of saving the Ganga after 112 days of uninterrupted fasting. While politicians like Narendra Modi blatantly used the name of ‘Ganga Maiyya’ only to garner votes, the entire country will forever remember Professor G.D. Agarwal’s supreme sacrifice to save the critically polluted river.
Inspired by Gandhiji, Professor Agarwal had undertaken several protest actions in past to save the river Ganga. The tireless campaigner for Ganga very significantly argued that the abiral dhara (uninterrupted flow) of the river is most important for the health of the entire river basin and how because of rampant buildings of dams on the river, the increased sedimentation of Ganga, has resulted into intensified risk of flooding.
PM Modi was elected to Parliament in 2014 from Varanasi, a city on the banks of Ganga. During his campaign, restoring the heath of the river was one of his main agenda. After Modi came into power, he also announced ambitious “Namani Gange” project to clean the river. But it has turned into another jumla! In 2017, Ganga samples collected from Varanasi’s Malviya Bridge showed bacterial contamination shocking 20 times higher than the official standards, the Government itself acknowledged in an RTI (India Today, July 3, 2018).
Professor Agarwal, extremely saddened by this pathetic situation of the Ganga, wrote several letters to Central Ministers and PM Modi. In his third and final letter to Narendra Modi, on 5/8/18, he wrote:
“… you have yourselves stated in the run up to 2014 elections in Banaras that you have come there because of the call given to you by Ma Gangaji — that very moment I came to believe that you would probably do something worthwhile for Gangaji …It was my expectation that you would go two steps forward and make special efforts for the sake of Gangaji because you went ahead and created a separate Ministry for all works relating to Gangaji, but in the past four years all actions undertaken by your Government have not at all been gainful to Gangaji and in her place gains are to be seen only for the Corporate Sector and several business houses. Till now you have only thought on the point of earning profits from Gangaji.” (The Wire, October 11, 2018).
Professor Agarwal urged the Modi Govt to cancel all hydel power projects and stop deforestation and mining activities on the river Ganga. Shamelessly, when the Government didn’t even bother to reply to Professor Agarwal, he began a fast unto death from June 22 and on October 9, he even gave up water.
Its’ a shame that the country lost one of the leading environmentalist and fighters for pollution free Ganga river because of the brazen apathy of the Modi Govt. But Modiji, the questions raised by Prof Agarwal will haunt you and your Government!
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