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On a fast unto death to save the Ganga, Sadhvi Padmavati forcefully arrested

The police admitted her to Doon Hospital even after she claimed that the doctor had told her she was healthy

01 Feb 2020

Sadhvi Padmavati

Sadvi Padmavati, who is on an indefinite fast to save River Ganga was forcibly arrested from the Matri Sadan Ashram on January 31, 2020. She has been peacefully protesting the pollution of the river which she considers sacred.

According to Amar Ujala, the police forcefully arrested her and admitted her to Doon Hospital on account of a bulletin released by the Chief Medical Officer that her health was deteriorating. City Circle Officer Abhay Pratap Singh confirmed the incident.

However, Sadhvi Padmavati has declared that she will not end her fast and whatever treatment has to be delivered to her will only be allowed if it happens at the Ashram.

 

 

In the video, Sadhvi Padmavati can be heard saying that she is in the pink of health and the doctors too have given her the all clear. It can be seen how the police forcefully placed her on a stretcher, while she is crying and saying that she is absolutely fine. She is constantly seen asking, “Why are they taking me away? I am absolutely fine! The CM of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat is trying to get me killed.”

Sadhvi Padmavati has been on a fast unto death since December 15, 2019 in her bid to save the River Ganga. Nitish Kumar, the CM of Bihar too had come out in her support for taking up this mission. The CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath too had sent his representatives asking her to give up her fast, but she refused to do so.

Post her arrest, a petition against Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, SDM Kusum Chauhan, CMO Dr. Saroj Naithani, station Head & SDM (Laksar) Sunaina Rana has been filed in the court.

Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) has issued a statement saying that it is outraged at the way the police arrested Sadhvi Padmavati and demands that her grievances about the River Ganga be addressed right away.

HfHR cofounders Giri Iyengar and Sunita Viswanath traveled a week ago to Haridwar to the Matri Sadan Ashram to meet the community of renunciants who are doing Satyagraha for Maa Ganga. Four sadhus have already died while fasting to save the river. 23-year-old Sadhvi Padmavati was on fast for 37 days when we met her. We found her to be serene and strong in her Satyagraha. The movement has four demands:

* Closing 4 dams

* Stopping sewage flow into the river

* No factories too close to the river

* Enacting a law to protect the river

Sadhvi Padmavati, like Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (Prof GD Agrawal) who passed away after fighting for the sanctity of the Ganges, has been protesting the illegal mining which is still rampant in the river and its tributaries that has been banned in the Ganga Act.


Related:

In The Himalayas, Living The Crisis That The IPCC Report Warns Of
'No regulation' in India on use of deadly chemical in surfactants, consumer products
Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced': Lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

New government’s policy concerns on energy, water, environment, pollution and climate change

A valuable addition to literature on Ganga, on the way it connects the river’s various historical periods

 

On a fast unto death to save the Ganga, Sadhvi Padmavati forcefully arrested

The police admitted her to Doon Hospital even after she claimed that the doctor had told her she was healthy

Sadhvi Padmavati

Sadvi Padmavati, who is on an indefinite fast to save River Ganga was forcibly arrested from the Matri Sadan Ashram on January 31, 2020. She has been peacefully protesting the pollution of the river which she considers sacred.

According to Amar Ujala, the police forcefully arrested her and admitted her to Doon Hospital on account of a bulletin released by the Chief Medical Officer that her health was deteriorating. City Circle Officer Abhay Pratap Singh confirmed the incident.

However, Sadhvi Padmavati has declared that she will not end her fast and whatever treatment has to be delivered to her will only be allowed if it happens at the Ashram.

 

 

In the video, Sadhvi Padmavati can be heard saying that she is in the pink of health and the doctors too have given her the all clear. It can be seen how the police forcefully placed her on a stretcher, while she is crying and saying that she is absolutely fine. She is constantly seen asking, “Why are they taking me away? I am absolutely fine! The CM of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat is trying to get me killed.”

Sadhvi Padmavati has been on a fast unto death since December 15, 2019 in her bid to save the River Ganga. Nitish Kumar, the CM of Bihar too had come out in her support for taking up this mission. The CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath too had sent his representatives asking her to give up her fast, but she refused to do so.

Post her arrest, a petition against Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, SDM Kusum Chauhan, CMO Dr. Saroj Naithani, station Head & SDM (Laksar) Sunaina Rana has been filed in the court.

Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) has issued a statement saying that it is outraged at the way the police arrested Sadhvi Padmavati and demands that her grievances about the River Ganga be addressed right away.

HfHR cofounders Giri Iyengar and Sunita Viswanath traveled a week ago to Haridwar to the Matri Sadan Ashram to meet the community of renunciants who are doing Satyagraha for Maa Ganga. Four sadhus have already died while fasting to save the river. 23-year-old Sadhvi Padmavati was on fast for 37 days when we met her. We found her to be serene and strong in her Satyagraha. The movement has four demands:

* Closing 4 dams

* Stopping sewage flow into the river

* No factories too close to the river

* Enacting a law to protect the river

Sadhvi Padmavati, like Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (Prof GD Agrawal) who passed away after fighting for the sanctity of the Ganges, has been protesting the illegal mining which is still rampant in the river and its tributaries that has been banned in the Ganga Act.


Related:

In The Himalayas, Living The Crisis That The IPCC Report Warns Of
'No regulation' in India on use of deadly chemical in surfactants, consumer products
Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced': Lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

New government’s policy concerns on energy, water, environment, pollution and climate change

A valuable addition to literature on Ganga, on the way it connects the river’s various historical periods

 

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Foot March From Delhi To Haridwar In Support of Sadhus Fasting for Conservation of Ganga

08 Mar 2019
Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand who earlier served as Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and was the first member-secretary of Central Pollution Control Board began a fast unto death on 22 June, 2018 demanding a law for conservation of Ganga. After 112 days of fasting he died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh because of alleged cardiac arrest on 11 October. He wrote letters to the Prime Minister before and after beginning his fast. However, Narendra Modi did not dialogue with him. He sent a condolence message on twitter the day Swami Sanand died. We hold Bhartiya Janata Party government and Narendra Modi directly responsible for the murder of Swami Sanand.



In 2011 young ascetic Swami Nigmanand had died on 115th day of his fast in Haridwar against illegal mining in Ganga. It is alleged that he was murdered by a mining mafia who was close to the then BJP government in Uttarakhand. Swami Gokulanand who observed the first fast against illegal mining in 1998 with Swami Nigmanand was murdered in Nainital in 2003 by mining mafia. Baba Nagnath died on 114th day of his fast in Varanasi in his effort to save Ganga. Sant Gopal Das who started his fast for uninterrupted flow and clean Ganga on 24 June, 2018 has been missing from a Dehradun hospital since 6th December, 2018.

Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand wanted Aviral or uninterrupted and Nirmal or clean Ganga. He was demanding that all proposed and under construction hydro power projects on Ganga be stopped immediately. He wanted complete ban on illegal sand and stone mining in Ganga basin as well as on deforstation. Presently another young ascetic Brahmachari Atmabodhanand has completed more than hunderd days of fast with the same demands continuing Swami Sanand’s struggle. He is fasting is the same room which was used by Swami Sanand at Matri Sadan. Swami Punyanand is next in line already on fruit diet ready to go on fast if anything happens to Brahmachari Atmabodhanand.

Swami Sanand had fasted five times during Manmohan Singh’s government in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. That government stopped the Lohari Nagpala hydro power project and declared 135 kms. of Bhagirathi river as eco-sensitive zone on his demand. During his 2013 fast Rajnath Singh as then BJP president had sent him a letter that all his demands related to Ganga will be met when Naremdra Modi government will come to power. However, sitting once on fast in this government proved fatal for him.

If the government had agreed to Swami Sanand’s demands not only him but Ganga would also have been saved. Now Swami Sanand is not amongst us and one day Ganga will also disappear. Many rivers in the country including Sabarmati have dried. Ganga and other rivers will also meet the same fate.

If the government had listened to saints then 40 % of Indian population who live on banks of Ganga or one of its tributaries would have directly benefitted. But as the elections approach issue of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, from which nobody knows who’ll benefit, is being raked up and in the case of Sabrimala temple RSS and BJP as well as Congress are opposing the entry of women into the temple. On the other hand all big parties are promoting corporate loot.

Negelecting the common people’s issues like implementation of Allahabad High Court Justice Sudhir Agrawal’s judgement making it compulsory for all persons receiving salaries from government to send their children to government schools, Justice Sudhir Agrawal and Justice Ajeet Kumar’s judgement that all people receiving salaries from government and theirfamily members get themselves treated in government hospitals, bring an employment guarantee Act for the educated unemployed on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or minimum support price for farmers there is an attempt to expoit religious sentiments of people and give free hand to corporates. We need to reject this politics.

Matri Sadan, Lok Rajniti Manch, Khudai Khidmatgar, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Nodi Bachao Jibon Bachao Andolan (W. Bengal), Koshi Navnirman Manch (Bihar), Matu Jansangathan, Ganga Bachao Samiti, ToxicWatch Alliance, Sarva Dharma Samanvaya Parishad (Jharkhand), J.P. Health Research Foundation, Parents’ Forum for Meaningful Learning, Sanatan Sanskriti Raksha Dal, Jal Jan Jodo, Paigam-e-Insaniyat, Prayatna, Humanity Welfare Society, Indian Industries Association, ECOLOGIZE, EGC Enterprises, Socialist Party (India)

Courtesy: Counter Current
 

Foot March From Delhi To Haridwar In Support of Sadhus Fasting for Conservation of Ganga

Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand who earlier served as Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and was the first member-secretary of Central Pollution Control Board began a fast unto death on 22 June, 2018 demanding a law for conservation of Ganga. After 112 days of fasting he died at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh because of alleged cardiac arrest on 11 October. He wrote letters to the Prime Minister before and after beginning his fast. However, Narendra Modi did not dialogue with him. He sent a condolence message on twitter the day Swami Sanand died. We hold Bhartiya Janata Party government and Narendra Modi directly responsible for the murder of Swami Sanand.



In 2011 young ascetic Swami Nigmanand had died on 115th day of his fast in Haridwar against illegal mining in Ganga. It is alleged that he was murdered by a mining mafia who was close to the then BJP government in Uttarakhand. Swami Gokulanand who observed the first fast against illegal mining in 1998 with Swami Nigmanand was murdered in Nainital in 2003 by mining mafia. Baba Nagnath died on 114th day of his fast in Varanasi in his effort to save Ganga. Sant Gopal Das who started his fast for uninterrupted flow and clean Ganga on 24 June, 2018 has been missing from a Dehradun hospital since 6th December, 2018.

Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand wanted Aviral or uninterrupted and Nirmal or clean Ganga. He was demanding that all proposed and under construction hydro power projects on Ganga be stopped immediately. He wanted complete ban on illegal sand and stone mining in Ganga basin as well as on deforstation. Presently another young ascetic Brahmachari Atmabodhanand has completed more than hunderd days of fast with the same demands continuing Swami Sanand’s struggle. He is fasting is the same room which was used by Swami Sanand at Matri Sadan. Swami Punyanand is next in line already on fruit diet ready to go on fast if anything happens to Brahmachari Atmabodhanand.

Swami Sanand had fasted five times during Manmohan Singh’s government in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013. That government stopped the Lohari Nagpala hydro power project and declared 135 kms. of Bhagirathi river as eco-sensitive zone on his demand. During his 2013 fast Rajnath Singh as then BJP president had sent him a letter that all his demands related to Ganga will be met when Naremdra Modi government will come to power. However, sitting once on fast in this government proved fatal for him.

If the government had agreed to Swami Sanand’s demands not only him but Ganga would also have been saved. Now Swami Sanand is not amongst us and one day Ganga will also disappear. Many rivers in the country including Sabarmati have dried. Ganga and other rivers will also meet the same fate.

If the government had listened to saints then 40 % of Indian population who live on banks of Ganga or one of its tributaries would have directly benefitted. But as the elections approach issue of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, from which nobody knows who’ll benefit, is being raked up and in the case of Sabrimala temple RSS and BJP as well as Congress are opposing the entry of women into the temple. On the other hand all big parties are promoting corporate loot.

Negelecting the common people’s issues like implementation of Allahabad High Court Justice Sudhir Agrawal’s judgement making it compulsory for all persons receiving salaries from government to send their children to government schools, Justice Sudhir Agrawal and Justice Ajeet Kumar’s judgement that all people receiving salaries from government and theirfamily members get themselves treated in government hospitals, bring an employment guarantee Act for the educated unemployed on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or minimum support price for farmers there is an attempt to expoit religious sentiments of people and give free hand to corporates. We need to reject this politics.

Matri Sadan, Lok Rajniti Manch, Khudai Khidmatgar, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Nodi Bachao Jibon Bachao Andolan (W. Bengal), Koshi Navnirman Manch (Bihar), Matu Jansangathan, Ganga Bachao Samiti, ToxicWatch Alliance, Sarva Dharma Samanvaya Parishad (Jharkhand), J.P. Health Research Foundation, Parents’ Forum for Meaningful Learning, Sanatan Sanskriti Raksha Dal, Jal Jan Jodo, Paigam-e-Insaniyat, Prayatna, Humanity Welfare Society, Indian Industries Association, ECOLOGIZE, EGC Enterprises, Socialist Party (India)

Courtesy: Counter Current
 

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How many more sons of Ganga will have to lose their lives for river’s free flow?

01 Feb 2019

The spiritually charged waters of Ganga are in danger claim citizen activists and The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) and added that the spiritual charges from the Holy Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri are being destroyed by the turbines of the existing hydropower projects at Vishnu Prayag, Srinagar, Maneri, Tehri and Koteshwar.


ganga cleaning
Image Courtesy: Reuters

The spiritually charged waters of Ganga are in danger claim citizen activists and The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM). In a letter addressed to PM Narendra Modi, Nitin Gadkari, Minister, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry, Government of India and Trivendra Rawat, Chief Minister, Uttarakhand, they asked how many more sons of Ganga will have to lose their lives in a bid to save the holy river.
 
“To save the holy Ganga, her sons have risen and stood up for her. Swami Saanand fasted for 111 days to draw the attention of the powers to be to its cries for survival before he succumbed unheeded. Carrying on the baton, Sant Gopaldas fasted for 146 days when he disappeared under suspicious circumstances unheard and unheeded. Presently the 26-year-old young Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand from Matri Sadan, Haridwar, has been on a fast since October 24, 2018, determined to carry on the baton for Ganga for a positive response,” they said.
 
They want the government to immediately stop work on three dams. “Presently, three under-construction dams namely Tapovan-Vishnugad, Vishnugad-Pipalkoti and Singoli-Bhatwari are further threatening the survival of this holy river adding to the damage already done by a number of existing dams. These are no less than ticking time bombs,” they wrote.
 
They added that they want the implementation of the ‘CPCB order dated December 06, 2016 issued vide letter no. PCI-SSI/direction-DM/SSP, Haridwar/2016 prohibiting mining and stone crushers within 5 km from either side of Ganga up to Raiwala 2, Bhogpur, Haridwar, up to Raighati and issue directions to halt.’
 
They also said that the spiritual charges from the Holy Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri are being destroyed by the turbines of the existing hydropower projects at Vishnu Prayag, Srinagar, Maneri, Tehri and Koteshwar.
 
“Research by Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto has shown that water crystals of spiritually charged and free-flowing waters are of beautiful forms while those of negative thoughts and stagnant waters are of ugly forms. Research by Swiss organization Aqua Viva has shown that water upstream Tehri is spiritually charged and has a halo while downstream is without the halo,” they wrote.
 
Full text of the letter:
 
Subject: River Ganga is being put to rest- how many more sons of Ganga will have to pay with their lives to save Maa Ganga? - Depends on you.
 
Dear Sirs,
 
We congratulate the Hon'ble Prime Minister and yourself for taking a policy decision not to make new dams on the Ganga.
 
There is no debating that Ganga must flow free or will perish with all attendant ill consequences. This is vindicated by Ravi Chopra Committee in its report to the Supreme Court submitting that there has been an increase in disasters in Uttarakhand ever since the tragedy in 2013, due to the presence of big dams. Acknowledging this reality, the Union of India under your leadership pledged to rejuvenate the Ganga and its three tributaries namely Alaknanda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi.  
 
Presently, three under-construction dams namely Tapovan-Vishnugad, Vishnugad-Pipalkoti and Singoli-Bhatwari are further threatening the survival of this holy river adding to the damage already done by a number of existing dams. These are no less than ticking time bombs.
 
To save the holy Ganga, her sons have risen and stood up for her. Swami Saanand fasted for 111 days to draw the attention of the powers to be to its cries for survival before he succumbed unheeded. Carrying on the baton, Sant Gopaldas fasted for 146 days when he disappeared under suspicious circumstances unheard and unheeded. Presently the 26-year-old young Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand from Matri Sadan, Haridwar, has been on a fast since October 24, 2018, determined to carry on the baton for Ganga for a positive response.
 
The powers that be must immediately engage with them ensuring that every step necessary to sustain the river is taken proactively without any further loss of life of the sons of Ganga on chain Amaran Anshan for her.  
 
The Himalayas are rugged mountains. The tunnels being built for dams have been weakening the Himalaya Mountain. Landslides are on the rise. The spiritual charges from the Holy Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri are being destroyed by the turbines of the existing hydropower projects at Vishnu Prayag, Srinagar, Maneri, Tehri and Koteshwar. Further, the water of the Holy River stagnates in the Tehri Reservoir and becomes dead without oxygen as established by the methane emissions recorded by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute.
 
Research by Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto has shown that water crystals of spiritually charged and free-flowing waters are of beautiful forms while those of negative thoughts and stagnant waters are of ugly forms. Research by Swiss organization Aqua Viva has shown that water upstream Tehri is spiritually charged and has a halo while downstream is without the halo.
 
The Government has notified that minimum 36 cumecs water will be released from Haridwar and 24 cumecs will be released from Narora. These e-flows are only 6 per cent of the flow at Haridwar and 3 per cent at Narora. This is inadequate considering that IIT Consortium has recommended about 50 per cent e-flows from hydropower projects.
 
To save our holy river let’s begin with:
 
1. Stopping the following dams under construction on Ganga at Tapovan-Vishnugad on Dhauli Ganga, Vishnugad-Pipalkoti on Alaknanda and Singoli-Bhatwari on Mandakini.
2.  Forthwith Implementing CPCB order dated December 06, 2016 issued vide letter no. PCI-SSI/direction-DM/SSP, Haridwar/2016 prohibiting mining and stone crushers within 5 km from either side of Ganga up to Raiwala 2, Bhogpur, Haridwar, up to Raighati and issue directions to halt.
3. Saints have and are sacrificing their lives in an unbroken chain of amaran anshan at Matri Sadan. The concerned authorities must immediately engage with them to resolve the demands.
 
The time to act is now for tomorrow will be too late.
 
We are the children of Maa Ganga sending you SOS for her: 
 
Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad & Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM Odisha
Dr.Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, KisanSangharshSamiti, Rajkumar Sinha, Bargi Baandh Visthapit evam Prabhavit Sangh, NAPM, Madhya Pradesh
P. Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU, Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, Meera Sanghamitra, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM Telangana - Andhra Pradesh
GautamBandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha;KaladasDahariya, RELAA, NAPM Chhattisgarh
Swami Agnivesh, Bandhua Mukti Morcha
Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan
Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party;Richa Singh, Sangatin; ArundhatiDhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai; Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation; Arul Doss, NAPM Tamilnadu
Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union; Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, NAPM, Karnataka
Vilayodi Venugopal, Prof. Kusumam Joseph, NAPM, Kerala
AnandMazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Krishnakant, ParyavaranSurakshaSamiti, NAPM Gujarat
VimalBhai, Matu Jan sangathan; Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand
Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-MoolnivasiAstivtva Raksha Samiti; Basant Kumar Hetamsaria and Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand
Samar Bagchi, AmitavaMitra, NAPM West Bengal
Suniti SR, SuhasKolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, & Bilal Khan, GharBachaoGharBanaoAndolan, Mumbai NAPM Maharashtra
Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar; J S Walia, NAPM Haryana
Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab
Kamayani Swami, AshishRanjan, Tanmay, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan; MahendraYadav, KosiNavnirmanManch; Sister Dorothy, Ujjawal Chaubey, NAPM Bihar
Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini; Sunita Rani, Domestic Workers Union; Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi
 

How many more sons of Ganga will have to lose their lives for river’s free flow?

The spiritually charged waters of Ganga are in danger claim citizen activists and The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) and added that the spiritual charges from the Holy Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri are being destroyed by the turbines of the existing hydropower projects at Vishnu Prayag, Srinagar, Maneri, Tehri and Koteshwar.


ganga cleaning
Image Courtesy: Reuters

The spiritually charged waters of Ganga are in danger claim citizen activists and The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM). In a letter addressed to PM Narendra Modi, Nitin Gadkari, Minister, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry, Government of India and Trivendra Rawat, Chief Minister, Uttarakhand, they asked how many more sons of Ganga will have to lose their lives in a bid to save the holy river.
 
“To save the holy Ganga, her sons have risen and stood up for her. Swami Saanand fasted for 111 days to draw the attention of the powers to be to its cries for survival before he succumbed unheeded. Carrying on the baton, Sant Gopaldas fasted for 146 days when he disappeared under suspicious circumstances unheard and unheeded. Presently the 26-year-old young Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand from Matri Sadan, Haridwar, has been on a fast since October 24, 2018, determined to carry on the baton for Ganga for a positive response,” they said.
 
They want the government to immediately stop work on three dams. “Presently, three under-construction dams namely Tapovan-Vishnugad, Vishnugad-Pipalkoti and Singoli-Bhatwari are further threatening the survival of this holy river adding to the damage already done by a number of existing dams. These are no less than ticking time bombs,” they wrote.
 
They added that they want the implementation of the ‘CPCB order dated December 06, 2016 issued vide letter no. PCI-SSI/direction-DM/SSP, Haridwar/2016 prohibiting mining and stone crushers within 5 km from either side of Ganga up to Raiwala 2, Bhogpur, Haridwar, up to Raighati and issue directions to halt.’
 
They also said that the spiritual charges from the Holy Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri are being destroyed by the turbines of the existing hydropower projects at Vishnu Prayag, Srinagar, Maneri, Tehri and Koteshwar.
 
“Research by Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto has shown that water crystals of spiritually charged and free-flowing waters are of beautiful forms while those of negative thoughts and stagnant waters are of ugly forms. Research by Swiss organization Aqua Viva has shown that water upstream Tehri is spiritually charged and has a halo while downstream is without the halo,” they wrote.
 
Full text of the letter:
 
Subject: River Ganga is being put to rest- how many more sons of Ganga will have to pay with their lives to save Maa Ganga? - Depends on you.
 
Dear Sirs,
 
We congratulate the Hon'ble Prime Minister and yourself for taking a policy decision not to make new dams on the Ganga.
 
There is no debating that Ganga must flow free or will perish with all attendant ill consequences. This is vindicated by Ravi Chopra Committee in its report to the Supreme Court submitting that there has been an increase in disasters in Uttarakhand ever since the tragedy in 2013, due to the presence of big dams. Acknowledging this reality, the Union of India under your leadership pledged to rejuvenate the Ganga and its three tributaries namely Alaknanda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi.  
 
Presently, three under-construction dams namely Tapovan-Vishnugad, Vishnugad-Pipalkoti and Singoli-Bhatwari are further threatening the survival of this holy river adding to the damage already done by a number of existing dams. These are no less than ticking time bombs.
 
To save the holy Ganga, her sons have risen and stood up for her. Swami Saanand fasted for 111 days to draw the attention of the powers to be to its cries for survival before he succumbed unheeded. Carrying on the baton, Sant Gopaldas fasted for 146 days when he disappeared under suspicious circumstances unheard and unheeded. Presently the 26-year-old young Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand from Matri Sadan, Haridwar, has been on a fast since October 24, 2018, determined to carry on the baton for Ganga for a positive response.
 
The powers that be must immediately engage with them ensuring that every step necessary to sustain the river is taken proactively without any further loss of life of the sons of Ganga on chain Amaran Anshan for her.  
 
The Himalayas are rugged mountains. The tunnels being built for dams have been weakening the Himalaya Mountain. Landslides are on the rise. The spiritual charges from the Holy Shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath and Gangotri are being destroyed by the turbines of the existing hydropower projects at Vishnu Prayag, Srinagar, Maneri, Tehri and Koteshwar. Further, the water of the Holy River stagnates in the Tehri Reservoir and becomes dead without oxygen as established by the methane emissions recorded by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute.
 
Research by Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto has shown that water crystals of spiritually charged and free-flowing waters are of beautiful forms while those of negative thoughts and stagnant waters are of ugly forms. Research by Swiss organization Aqua Viva has shown that water upstream Tehri is spiritually charged and has a halo while downstream is without the halo.
 
The Government has notified that minimum 36 cumecs water will be released from Haridwar and 24 cumecs will be released from Narora. These e-flows are only 6 per cent of the flow at Haridwar and 3 per cent at Narora. This is inadequate considering that IIT Consortium has recommended about 50 per cent e-flows from hydropower projects.
 
To save our holy river let’s begin with:
 
1. Stopping the following dams under construction on Ganga at Tapovan-Vishnugad on Dhauli Ganga, Vishnugad-Pipalkoti on Alaknanda and Singoli-Bhatwari on Mandakini.
2.  Forthwith Implementing CPCB order dated December 06, 2016 issued vide letter no. PCI-SSI/direction-DM/SSP, Haridwar/2016 prohibiting mining and stone crushers within 5 km from either side of Ganga up to Raiwala 2, Bhogpur, Haridwar, up to Raighati and issue directions to halt.
3. Saints have and are sacrificing their lives in an unbroken chain of amaran anshan at Matri Sadan. The concerned authorities must immediately engage with them to resolve the demands.
 
The time to act is now for tomorrow will be too late.
 
We are the children of Maa Ganga sending you SOS for her: 
 
Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad & Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM Odisha
Dr.Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, KisanSangharshSamiti, Rajkumar Sinha, Bargi Baandh Visthapit evam Prabhavit Sangh, NAPM, Madhya Pradesh
P. Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU, Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, Meera Sanghamitra, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM Telangana - Andhra Pradesh
GautamBandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha;KaladasDahariya, RELAA, NAPM Chhattisgarh
Swami Agnivesh, Bandhua Mukti Morcha
Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan
Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party;Richa Singh, Sangatin; ArundhatiDhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai; Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation; Arul Doss, NAPM Tamilnadu
Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union; Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, NAPM, Karnataka
Vilayodi Venugopal, Prof. Kusumam Joseph, NAPM, Kerala
AnandMazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Krishnakant, ParyavaranSurakshaSamiti, NAPM Gujarat
VimalBhai, Matu Jan sangathan; Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand
Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-MoolnivasiAstivtva Raksha Samiti; Basant Kumar Hetamsaria and Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand
Samar Bagchi, AmitavaMitra, NAPM West Bengal
Suniti SR, SuhasKolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, & Bilal Khan, GharBachaoGharBanaoAndolan, Mumbai NAPM Maharashtra
Faisal Khan, KhudaiKhidmatgar; J S Walia, NAPM Haryana
Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab
Kamayani Swami, AshishRanjan, Tanmay, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan; MahendraYadav, KosiNavnirmanManch; Sister Dorothy, Ujjawal Chaubey, NAPM Bihar
Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan SangharshVahini; Sunita Rani, Domestic Workers Union; Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi
 

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As 2020 Deadline To Clean Ganga Looms, Less Than Quarter Of Budget Spent, Sewage Projects Behind Schedule, Water Quality Deteriorates: Official Data

19 Dec 2018
New Delhi: With a self-declared deadline of 2020 to clean the Ganga looming, the central government has so far spent less than 25% of Rs 20,000 crore to be spent by 2019 under the Clean Ganga Mission, according to official data.


Patna: Activists of team ‘Mission Gange’ participate in a cleanliness drive at the banks of Ganga river, under the ‘Namami Gange Programme’.

Since the launch of Namami Gange or the Clean Ganga Mission in 2015, Rs 4,800 crore has been spent on projects meant to clean the  Ganga and its tributaries--Yamuna and Chambal--over about four years to November 2018, according to data presented to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) on December 14, 2018.   

As on October 2018, Rs 3,700 crore, or about 77% of the expenditure of Rs 4,800 crore, had been spent on creating no more than 11% of sewage-treatment infrastructure required in cities falling on the banks of Ganga in riverine states, including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of  the mission’s monthly progress reports.

Of the 96 sewage-infrastructure projects sanctioned since 2015, 23, or about 24%, were completed by October 2018, 44 (46%) were under construction and no work had started on 29 (30%).   

Cleaning the Ganga--a river that flows 2,500 km from the Himalayas and waters the Gangetic plain of North India--has been on the agenda of successive governments since 1986, with about Rs 4,000 crore spent till 2014.

But the river has remained dirty.

To clean the river by 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government launched the biggest-ever campaign--the Namami Gange--in 2015 with a budget of Rs 20,000 crore. The programme has now been extended to 2020.



Source: Lok Sabha
Note: Rs 679.15 crore was spent on other activities (Rs 52.56 crore in 2015-16, Rs 121.12 crore in 2016-17, Rs 271.56 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 233.91 crore in 2018-19)


The river has not become any cleaner
Pollution levels at 80 monitored sites on the river have risen since 2013 according to the Central Pollution Control Board, the chief environment authority, the Wire reported on October 20, 2018.  

The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by biological organisms to break down non-essential organic material in the water,  was more than 3 milligram/litre (mg/l) at 36 of 80 sites and 2-3 mg/l at another 30 sites in 2017. In 2013, it was more than 3 mg/l at 31 sites and 2-3 mg/l at 24, the Wire reported.

High BOD levels are harmful to the river and its creatures. Water with BOD level of 2-3 mg/l is not fit for consumption and can cause serious diseases if consumed without treatment. If BOD crosses 3 mg/l, the water is not even fit for bathing.

Slow progress of projects
The major reason for pollution in the Ganga is the discharge of untreated and partially treated sewage from cities. The Ganga receives about 2,900 million liters of sewage discharge per day (MLD), of which only 48%, or 1,400 MLD, is treated, according to government data.

The central government, under the Clean Ganga Mission, has to create an additional 1,500 MLD (52% of discharge) sewage treatment capacity to bridge the gap but, as on October 31, 2018, only 172 MLD, or 11% of the required capacity, was completed.

(Tripathi is a principal correspondent with IndiaSpend.)

Courtesy: India Spend

 

As 2020 Deadline To Clean Ganga Looms, Less Than Quarter Of Budget Spent, Sewage Projects Behind Schedule, Water Quality Deteriorates: Official Data

New Delhi: With a self-declared deadline of 2020 to clean the Ganga looming, the central government has so far spent less than 25% of Rs 20,000 crore to be spent by 2019 under the Clean Ganga Mission, according to official data.


Patna: Activists of team ‘Mission Gange’ participate in a cleanliness drive at the banks of Ganga river, under the ‘Namami Gange Programme’.

Since the launch of Namami Gange or the Clean Ganga Mission in 2015, Rs 4,800 crore has been spent on projects meant to clean the  Ganga and its tributaries--Yamuna and Chambal--over about four years to November 2018, according to data presented to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) on December 14, 2018.   

As on October 2018, Rs 3,700 crore, or about 77% of the expenditure of Rs 4,800 crore, had been spent on creating no more than 11% of sewage-treatment infrastructure required in cities falling on the banks of Ganga in riverine states, including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of  the mission’s monthly progress reports.

Of the 96 sewage-infrastructure projects sanctioned since 2015, 23, or about 24%, were completed by October 2018, 44 (46%) were under construction and no work had started on 29 (30%).   

Cleaning the Ganga--a river that flows 2,500 km from the Himalayas and waters the Gangetic plain of North India--has been on the agenda of successive governments since 1986, with about Rs 4,000 crore spent till 2014.

But the river has remained dirty.

To clean the river by 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance government launched the biggest-ever campaign--the Namami Gange--in 2015 with a budget of Rs 20,000 crore. The programme has now been extended to 2020.



Source: Lok Sabha
Note: Rs 679.15 crore was spent on other activities (Rs 52.56 crore in 2015-16, Rs 121.12 crore in 2016-17, Rs 271.56 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 233.91 crore in 2018-19)


The river has not become any cleaner
Pollution levels at 80 monitored sites on the river have risen since 2013 according to the Central Pollution Control Board, the chief environment authority, the Wire reported on October 20, 2018.  

The biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by biological organisms to break down non-essential organic material in the water,  was more than 3 milligram/litre (mg/l) at 36 of 80 sites and 2-3 mg/l at another 30 sites in 2017. In 2013, it was more than 3 mg/l at 31 sites and 2-3 mg/l at 24, the Wire reported.

High BOD levels are harmful to the river and its creatures. Water with BOD level of 2-3 mg/l is not fit for consumption and can cause serious diseases if consumed without treatment. If BOD crosses 3 mg/l, the water is not even fit for bathing.

Slow progress of projects
The major reason for pollution in the Ganga is the discharge of untreated and partially treated sewage from cities. The Ganga receives about 2,900 million liters of sewage discharge per day (MLD), of which only 48%, or 1,400 MLD, is treated, according to government data.

The central government, under the Clean Ganga Mission, has to create an additional 1,500 MLD (52% of discharge) sewage treatment capacity to bridge the gap but, as on October 31, 2018, only 172 MLD, or 11% of the required capacity, was completed.

(Tripathi is a principal correspondent with IndiaSpend.)

Courtesy: India Spend

 

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Ganga flows ….with ‘ blood’ …?

13 Oct 2018
‘ Naitikta nasht hui … Manavta bhrasht hui
Nirlajya bhav se behti ho kyon …’
( Morality is destroyed … Humanity has been corrupted
Why do you flow in this shameless way?)

From ‘ Ganga behti hai kyon’ by Pundit Narendra Sharma and lyrics rendered by Bhupen Hazarika
 


One of the present government’s prime mission was cleaning Ganga. It boasted of a flagship program ‘ Namami Gange’ but could not care to listen to the real fighter who was on fast since June 22 demanding concrete action to cleanse Ganga by not allowing industrial waste causing pollution and health problems to people.

Environmentalist GD Agrawal suffered cardiac arrest. He was administered a potassium and heart related medicine, told a doctor at AIIMS, Rhishikesh to ANI. (Environmentalist GD Agrawal dies after fasting to save Ganga … October 11, 2018, indiatvnews.com). He was demanding steps to make ganga ‘ aviral’ (free flowing) and clean.

The 86- year old former professor of IIT Kanpur has been demanding a ban on all hydroelectric projects along the tributaries of ganga besides enactment of the Ganga Protection Management Act . ( October 11, 2018, outlookindia.com). Agrawal sent several letters to the Prime Minister who, in 2014 pledged on the banks of ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to clean ganga. But the government paid no heed to his demands, said ‘ IIT-ians for Holy Ganga’ , a forum formed to preserve the heritage and ecology of the river.

Brief sketch
G D Agrawal, also known as swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, has earlier held the chair at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He served on the board of the National Ganga River Basin Authority and was the first member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board. The government had also engaged him at various levels to advise them on the health of the country’s rivers. ( Oct 11, 2018, scroll.in). His demands included maintaining the environmental flow of the river to prevent pollution, removal of encroachments from the riverbank, and,a special law to deal with the pollution of the river.

In July, he was forcibly removed from his fasting venue by police and taken to undisclosed destination. Later, he filed a petition in Uttarakhand High Court stating that his peaceful fast did not pose law and order problem to State.

Condolences
Many human rights activists, environmental experts and politicians expressed their condolences. Activist Prashant Bhushan said that Agrawal passed away after his pleas to save the Ganga ‘ fell on Modi’s deaf ears’ . He also regretted ‘ this world is not for pure souls’ . Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “…. Rs.22,000 crore was allotted for cleaning it ( ganga) but not even 1/4 th of it has been used..” Aam Admi Party leader Sanjay Singh, Rajya Sabha MP termed government as ‘ insensitive’ opined that the bjp garnered votes on the name of Ganga but could not save the son of ganga (Agrawal). Even the ruling party members including PM and Uma bharati ( who vowed to clean ganga) expressed grief but their inaction and lack of political will is palpably visible. Despite fasting for almost 111 days, the government failed to assure Agrawal and could not stop him from fasting. He had tried his best but when he realized that the rulers are unmoved, he stopped taking even water and honey for the last few days leading to his demise.

To- day, Ganga is smeared with blood of its loving son. Will the powers that be initiate any concrete step in future?

(The writer from anywhere and everywhere is supporter of human rights. Whenever the writer ponders on the question ‘ who am I?’, He receives response from a lyric by Bhupen Hazarika, ‘ ami ekti jajabor’ ( I am a gypsy). Some of the works appeared in dissident voice, poemHunter.com, tuckmagazine.com, counterview.org, counterview.net, velivada and virasam.org, etc)

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/
 

Ganga flows ….with ‘ blood’ …?

‘ Naitikta nasht hui … Manavta bhrasht hui
Nirlajya bhav se behti ho kyon …’
( Morality is destroyed … Humanity has been corrupted
Why do you flow in this shameless way?)

From ‘ Ganga behti hai kyon’ by Pundit Narendra Sharma and lyrics rendered by Bhupen Hazarika
 


One of the present government’s prime mission was cleaning Ganga. It boasted of a flagship program ‘ Namami Gange’ but could not care to listen to the real fighter who was on fast since June 22 demanding concrete action to cleanse Ganga by not allowing industrial waste causing pollution and health problems to people.

Environmentalist GD Agrawal suffered cardiac arrest. He was administered a potassium and heart related medicine, told a doctor at AIIMS, Rhishikesh to ANI. (Environmentalist GD Agrawal dies after fasting to save Ganga … October 11, 2018, indiatvnews.com). He was demanding steps to make ganga ‘ aviral’ (free flowing) and clean.

The 86- year old former professor of IIT Kanpur has been demanding a ban on all hydroelectric projects along the tributaries of ganga besides enactment of the Ganga Protection Management Act . ( October 11, 2018, outlookindia.com). Agrawal sent several letters to the Prime Minister who, in 2014 pledged on the banks of ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to clean ganga. But the government paid no heed to his demands, said ‘ IIT-ians for Holy Ganga’ , a forum formed to preserve the heritage and ecology of the river.

Brief sketch
G D Agrawal, also known as swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, has earlier held the chair at Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He served on the board of the National Ganga River Basin Authority and was the first member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board. The government had also engaged him at various levels to advise them on the health of the country’s rivers. ( Oct 11, 2018, scroll.in). His demands included maintaining the environmental flow of the river to prevent pollution, removal of encroachments from the riverbank, and,a special law to deal with the pollution of the river.

In July, he was forcibly removed from his fasting venue by police and taken to undisclosed destination. Later, he filed a petition in Uttarakhand High Court stating that his peaceful fast did not pose law and order problem to State.

Condolences
Many human rights activists, environmental experts and politicians expressed their condolences. Activist Prashant Bhushan said that Agrawal passed away after his pleas to save the Ganga ‘ fell on Modi’s deaf ears’ . He also regretted ‘ this world is not for pure souls’ . Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “…. Rs.22,000 crore was allotted for cleaning it ( ganga) but not even 1/4 th of it has been used..” Aam Admi Party leader Sanjay Singh, Rajya Sabha MP termed government as ‘ insensitive’ opined that the bjp garnered votes on the name of Ganga but could not save the son of ganga (Agrawal). Even the ruling party members including PM and Uma bharati ( who vowed to clean ganga) expressed grief but their inaction and lack of political will is palpably visible. Despite fasting for almost 111 days, the government failed to assure Agrawal and could not stop him from fasting. He had tried his best but when he realized that the rulers are unmoved, he stopped taking even water and honey for the last few days leading to his demise.

To- day, Ganga is smeared with blood of its loving son. Will the powers that be initiate any concrete step in future?

(The writer from anywhere and everywhere is supporter of human rights. Whenever the writer ponders on the question ‘ who am I?’, He receives response from a lyric by Bhupen Hazarika, ‘ ami ekti jajabor’ ( I am a gypsy). Some of the works appeared in dissident voice, poemHunter.com, tuckmagazine.com, counterview.org, counterview.net, velivada and virasam.org, etc)

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/
 

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Fasting since June to save river Ganga, Prof. G. D. Agarwal dies

12 Oct 2018

Environmental Support Group claims that Dr. Agarwal died due to the callousness of the Government and not taking any action to stop the river’s pollution. He also died due to the unwillingness of the Judiciary to enforce multiple ruling tackling the river’s pollution


GD Agarwal
 
Rishikesh: Noted environmentalist and Ganga river crusader Prof. GD Agarwal passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 86. He was taken to AIIMS Rishikesh where he was pronounced dead. He had been on an indefinite fast since June 22 demanding action over the river clean up.
 
In the course of his 111 day fast, he was only consuming water mixed with honey and had stopped the intake of water on Oct 9. “GD Agarwal, also known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, was shifted by the police from Haridwar to AIIMS in Rishikesh yesterday after being on fast for 109 days. An AIIMS doctor said he suffered from hernia, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease and the fast worsened his condition,” reported NDTV.
 
“Dr. Agarwal refused to take water two days ago, as none of the state governments of the Gangetic basin, the Central Environment Ministry, the Water Resources Ministry or the Prime Minister’s Office did anything to respond to his Sathyagraha and take action to clean the Ganga and save her for posterity. Dr. Agarwal also demanded government must stop construction of hydroelectric projects along the river’s tributaries and enact the Ganga Protection Management Act to ensure the river has a chance to come back to life,” said the Environment Support Group.
 
Dr. Agarwal has served as a faculty member of IIT Kanpur, guided the Central Pollution Control Board as Member Secretary in taking tough action against industrial and urban polluters, and ensure our rivers flow free and healthy. He inspired thousands by his ascetic life and dedication to environmental causes.
 
ESG claims that Dr. Agarwal died due to the callousness of the Government and not taking any action to stop the river’s pollution. He died due to the unwillingness of the Judiciary to enforce multiple rulings tackling the river’s pollution. From the high reaches of the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, this mighty river is being intensely polluted and its watershed extensively destroyed. Yet, no one has gone to jail.  But the one man who gave everything he could to save the river, has now been put to death.
 
“We must force the Government to take immediate steps to stop destroying the Ganga, and all other rivers. The Indian Government is seriously compromising the nation’s ecological, economic and health security by promoting reckless dam building, over-extraction of water, deforestation, wanton industrial and urban pollution, sand mining, river linking, and promoting land-use changes destroying riverine watersheds. This must end,” the group said.
 
In the third and last letter to PM Modi, Prof Agarwal had told him that he had misled people into believing that he cared about the river when he only made a ministry to help industries and corporates.
 
Full text of the letter (sourced from The Wire)
 
In Your Service
Shri Narendra Bhai Modiji,
Respected Prime Minister, Government of India, New Delhi
 
Respected Prime Minister,
 
I have written a few letters to you in the past addressing matters related to Gangaji, but I have not received any response from you addressing them till now. I had a great confidence that after your becoming the Prime Minister you would think seriously about Gangaji because 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 and it is on account of that belief that I kept waiting in peace for the past four and a half years. You would probably be aware that I have undertaken several fasts in the past seeking actions in favour of Gangaji and earlier accepting the grounds for my insistence ((sic) erstwhile Prime Minister Shri) Manmohan Singh ji decided to stop as well as cancel all activities in a major project like Lohari Nagpala which was already 90% complete by then, because of which the Government had to bear the brunt of the loss of thousands of crores rupees, yet the Government under Manmohan Singh ji went ahead and did this for the sake of Gangaji. Over and above this the then Government went ahead and declared the stretch of flow of Bhagirathi ji from Gangotri to Uttarkashi as an Eco-Sensitive Zone so as to ensure that activities that may cause harm to Gangaji never occur.
 
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. You do not seem to be giving anything to Gangaji, such is the impression created by all of your projects in relation to Gangaji. Even if for the sake of making a statement you may say that there is nothing to take from Gangaji but only give her from our side.
 
On the 03.08.2018 CE, Union Minister Sadhvi Uma Bharti ji came to meet me. She made me speak to Nitin Gadkari ji on phone, but the response is expected from you. It is therefore that I could not give any reply to Sushri Uma Bharti ji. It is my request to you that you accept the following four desired requirements which remain the same as I have listed in my previous letter written to you dated 13th of June 2018, failing which I will give up my life continuing my fast. I have no qualms about giving up my life because the issue of Gangaji is very significant to me and is of utmost priority. I was a Professor at an IIT and was member of the Central Pollution Control Board as well as that of Governmental organizations related to Gangaji. It is on the basis of my experiences gained over all these years of being part of these institutions, I can state that in the previous four years of your Government, there is not even a single action that can be said to be a fruitful one in the direction of saving Gangaji. It is my request, I repeat, that the following necessary actions be accepted and acted on. I am sending this letter through Uma Bhartiji.
 
Here are my four requests for necessary actions:
 
Bring the Draft Bill prepared by Ganga Mahasabha in 2012 [Draft of National River Gangaji (Conservation&Management) Act – 2012:
 
http://www.gangamahasabha.org/gm%20docs/Draft%20Proposal%20%20of%20Ganga%20Mahasabha.pdf ] for discussion in the Parliament immediately and get it passed (I, along with Advocate M.C. Mehta and Dr. Paritosh Tyagi were part of the committee in preparing this draft). In the event that this does not happen, then from the above draft bill, items from Chapter-1 (from Article-1 to Article-9) be brought into force by way of an immediate Presidential Ordinance.
 
As a part of the above stated exercise, cancel all the hydel power projects that are underconstruction over Alakananda , Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar and Mandakini and also cancel all the proposed hydel power projects on Gangaji and all feeder streams of Gangaji.
 
From the draft Bill mentioned above, Article 4(D)-1 cutting/deforestation and 4 (F) slaughtering/processing of living species/matter and 4(G) all types of mining activities be completely stopped and this be enforced and this be specifically enforced in Haridwar Kumbha-Kshetra.
 
Constitute a Ganga Bhakta Parishad provisionally (till June 2019 CE) in which there will be 20 members nominated by you, who are to take an oath standing in the waters of Gangaji that they will act only in the interests benefitting Gangaji and only Gangaji’s favourable interests and in relation to all actions pertaining to Gangaji, the opinion of this Parishad be taken as decisive.
 
Since I did not receive any response or reaction from you for my letter dated 13th June 2018, I have started my fast as stated in the letter from 22nd June 2018 and in that light, this is for your appropriate action quickly as well as with due thanks for the same.
 
Yours,
Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand
(formerly Prof. G.D. Agrawal)
 
Environment Support Group had the privilege of hosting Dr. Agarwal in August 2002 in delivering lectures in a workshop on “Judicial Enforcement of Environmental Law”, co-hosted by Karnataka Judicial Academy.  The two papers Dr. Agarwal presented the judiciary are attached.
 

Fasting since June to save river Ganga, Prof. G. D. Agarwal dies

Environmental Support Group claims that Dr. Agarwal died due to the callousness of the Government and not taking any action to stop the river’s pollution. He also died due to the unwillingness of the Judiciary to enforce multiple ruling tackling the river’s pollution


GD Agarwal
 
Rishikesh: Noted environmentalist and Ganga river crusader Prof. GD Agarwal passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 86. He was taken to AIIMS Rishikesh where he was pronounced dead. He had been on an indefinite fast since June 22 demanding action over the river clean up.
 
In the course of his 111 day fast, he was only consuming water mixed with honey and had stopped the intake of water on Oct 9. “GD Agarwal, also known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, was shifted by the police from Haridwar to AIIMS in Rishikesh yesterday after being on fast for 109 days. An AIIMS doctor said he suffered from hernia, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease and the fast worsened his condition,” reported NDTV.
 
“Dr. Agarwal refused to take water two days ago, as none of the state governments of the Gangetic basin, the Central Environment Ministry, the Water Resources Ministry or the Prime Minister’s Office did anything to respond to his Sathyagraha and take action to clean the Ganga and save her for posterity. Dr. Agarwal also demanded government must stop construction of hydroelectric projects along the river’s tributaries and enact the Ganga Protection Management Act to ensure the river has a chance to come back to life,” said the Environment Support Group.
 
Dr. Agarwal has served as a faculty member of IIT Kanpur, guided the Central Pollution Control Board as Member Secretary in taking tough action against industrial and urban polluters, and ensure our rivers flow free and healthy. He inspired thousands by his ascetic life and dedication to environmental causes.
 
ESG claims that Dr. Agarwal died due to the callousness of the Government and not taking any action to stop the river’s pollution. He died due to the unwillingness of the Judiciary to enforce multiple rulings tackling the river’s pollution. From the high reaches of the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, this mighty river is being intensely polluted and its watershed extensively destroyed. Yet, no one has gone to jail.  But the one man who gave everything he could to save the river, has now been put to death.
 
“We must force the Government to take immediate steps to stop destroying the Ganga, and all other rivers. The Indian Government is seriously compromising the nation’s ecological, economic and health security by promoting reckless dam building, over-extraction of water, deforestation, wanton industrial and urban pollution, sand mining, river linking, and promoting land-use changes destroying riverine watersheds. This must end,” the group said.
 
In the third and last letter to PM Modi, Prof Agarwal had told him that he had misled people into believing that he cared about the river when he only made a ministry to help industries and corporates.
 
Full text of the letter (sourced from The Wire)
 
In Your Service
Shri Narendra Bhai Modiji,
Respected Prime Minister, Government of India, New Delhi
 
Respected Prime Minister,
 
I have written a few letters to you in the past addressing matters related to Gangaji, but I have not received any response from you addressing them till now. I had a great confidence that after your becoming the Prime Minister you would think seriously about Gangaji because 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 and it is on account of that belief that I kept waiting in peace for the past four and a half years. You would probably be aware that I have undertaken several fasts in the past seeking actions in favour of Gangaji and earlier accepting the grounds for my insistence ((sic) erstwhile Prime Minister Shri) Manmohan Singh ji decided to stop as well as cancel all activities in a major project like Lohari Nagpala which was already 90% complete by then, because of which the Government had to bear the brunt of the loss of thousands of crores rupees, yet the Government under Manmohan Singh ji went ahead and did this for the sake of Gangaji. Over and above this the then Government went ahead and declared the stretch of flow of Bhagirathi ji from Gangotri to Uttarkashi as an Eco-Sensitive Zone so as to ensure that activities that may cause harm to Gangaji never occur.
 
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. You do not seem to be giving anything to Gangaji, such is the impression created by all of your projects in relation to Gangaji. Even if for the sake of making a statement you may say that there is nothing to take from Gangaji but only give her from our side.
 
On the 03.08.2018 CE, Union Minister Sadhvi Uma Bharti ji came to meet me. She made me speak to Nitin Gadkari ji on phone, but the response is expected from you. It is therefore that I could not give any reply to Sushri Uma Bharti ji. It is my request to you that you accept the following four desired requirements which remain the same as I have listed in my previous letter written to you dated 13th of June 2018, failing which I will give up my life continuing my fast. I have no qualms about giving up my life because the issue of Gangaji is very significant to me and is of utmost priority. I was a Professor at an IIT and was member of the Central Pollution Control Board as well as that of Governmental organizations related to Gangaji. It is on the basis of my experiences gained over all these years of being part of these institutions, I can state that in the previous four years of your Government, there is not even a single action that can be said to be a fruitful one in the direction of saving Gangaji. It is my request, I repeat, that the following necessary actions be accepted and acted on. I am sending this letter through Uma Bhartiji.
 
Here are my four requests for necessary actions:
 
Bring the Draft Bill prepared by Ganga Mahasabha in 2012 [Draft of National River Gangaji (Conservation&Management) Act – 2012:
 
http://www.gangamahasabha.org/gm%20docs/Draft%20Proposal%20%20of%20Ganga%20Mahasabha.pdf ] for discussion in the Parliament immediately and get it passed (I, along with Advocate M.C. Mehta and Dr. Paritosh Tyagi were part of the committee in preparing this draft). In the event that this does not happen, then from the above draft bill, items from Chapter-1 (from Article-1 to Article-9) be brought into force by way of an immediate Presidential Ordinance.
 
As a part of the above stated exercise, cancel all the hydel power projects that are underconstruction over Alakananda , Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar and Mandakini and also cancel all the proposed hydel power projects on Gangaji and all feeder streams of Gangaji.
 
From the draft Bill mentioned above, Article 4(D)-1 cutting/deforestation and 4 (F) slaughtering/processing of living species/matter and 4(G) all types of mining activities be completely stopped and this be enforced and this be specifically enforced in Haridwar Kumbha-Kshetra.
 
Constitute a Ganga Bhakta Parishad provisionally (till June 2019 CE) in which there will be 20 members nominated by you, who are to take an oath standing in the waters of Gangaji that they will act only in the interests benefitting Gangaji and only Gangaji’s favourable interests and in relation to all actions pertaining to Gangaji, the opinion of this Parishad be taken as decisive.
 
Since I did not receive any response or reaction from you for my letter dated 13th June 2018, I have started my fast as stated in the letter from 22nd June 2018 and in that light, this is for your appropriate action quickly as well as with due thanks for the same.
 
Yours,
Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand
(formerly Prof. G.D. Agrawal)
 
Environment Support Group had the privilege of hosting Dr. Agarwal in August 2002 in delivering lectures in a workshop on “Judicial Enforcement of Environmental Law”, co-hosted by Karnataka Judicial Academy.  The two papers Dr. Agarwal presented the judiciary are attached.
 

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Why is the Central Government Silent on Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand’s Fast?

13 Aug 2018
86 years old Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand is on a fast unto death since 22 June, 2018 in Haridwar demanding a law for conservation of river Ganga but the Central government has not taken a step to convince him to give up his fast. This raises question on the intention of government. It appears that the government is deliberately ignoring Swami Sanand’s fast. Let us not forget that young seer Swami Nigmanand died on the 115th day of his fast demanding halt to illegal mining in Ganga in 2011.



Swami Sanand is not merely a religious person. He was known as Professor G.D. Agarwal before he became a saint. He has served at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and as Member-Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board and is responsible for putting into place a number of pollution related norms.

Ganga couldn’t be cleaned after Rs. 500 crores were spent as part of Ganga Action Plan. The present government has proposed a budget of Rs. 20,000 for the Namami Gange project, of which Rs. 7,000 have already been spent. Swami Sanand says that Ganga would not be cleaned because the present government is following a similar programme as the past governments.

The capacity of Common Effluent Treatment Plants and Sewage Treatment Plants to clean industrial waste and sewage produced by cities, respectively, is simply not enough to handle all the wastes generated and whatever capacity has been built is not always functional. For example, against the 400 Million Litres per Day of sewage generated in Varanasi city, the built capacity of STPs is only one-fourth. Bhagwanpur plant, near Banares Hindu University, has a capacity of 8 MLD, Deenapur plant has a capacity of 80 MLD and Konia plant has a capacity of 150-200 MLD but works at only 30-40% of its capacity. Among these the Bhagwanpur plant works best but its capacity is minuscule compared to total sewage generated. Two more STPs are now under construction. When the plants are out of order or there is no electricity, the waste flows directly into the river untreated.

Assi river, which looks more like a drainage, and parts of it have been completely covered to actually make it a drainage, discharges 80 MLD of untreated sewage and Varuna river with 80-90 MLD of sewage discharges 75-80% of it untreated into Ganga. Parts of Assi and Varuna, two rivers from whom the city derives its name, are also used by Nagar Nigam as landfills. Seepage from these garbage heaps also pollutes the rivers.

Kanpur city produces 600 MLD of sewage and industrial waste whereas the built capacity to treat waste is hardly 200-250 MLD.

Corruption also has a role to play in this pollution. Employees of Municipal Corporation or State Pollution Control Boards, responsible for looking after the CETPs, allow the industrial waste to directly flow into the river bypassing the treatment plants by accepting bribes. When the manufacturing units increase their production capacity they don’t inform the PCBs officially. The extra waste generated is also allowed to join the river in exchange for bribes.

For example, none of the CETPs built in Ahmedabad are functional, reason for the extremely polluted water of Sabarmati river downstream of city. The water itself comes from Narmada canal as upstream from the city the river has dried up.

Only the contractors benefit from construction of STPs and CETPs. Government’s motivation to clean Ganga seems lacking and therefore Swami Sanand has sat on a fast unto death to demand a law for conservation of the river.

It is shocking that the government is not taking Swami Sanand’s fast seriously and neither is the media giving coverage to the fast, most likely at the behest of government. This is in spite of the fact that Narendra Modi declared when he went to contest the election from Varanasi that he had got a call from mother Ganga. After he took over as Prime Minister the name of Water Resources ministry was changed to include ‘Ganga Rejuvenation’ in it, as if there were no other rivers in the country.

Is it the famed Indian culture which Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh boasts off that just as Naremdra Modi-Amit Shah duo has marginalised senior leaders of Bhartiya Janata Parrty, they are now undervaluing Swami Sanand’s fast and will not have any qualms if he dies? Does the government, so worried about saving cows’ lives, not give priority to saving a Sadhu’s life?

Acquaintances of Swami Sanand are appalled at the way he has been left to die. If there is any sensitivity left in the government it should immediately enter into dialogue with Swami Sanand to end his fast and agree to make a law for conservation of not just Ganga but all water bodies of the entire country.

Sandeep Pandey is a social activist   e-mail: ashaashram@yahoo.com

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/

 

Why is the Central Government Silent on Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand’s Fast?

86 years old Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand is on a fast unto death since 22 June, 2018 in Haridwar demanding a law for conservation of river Ganga but the Central government has not taken a step to convince him to give up his fast. This raises question on the intention of government. It appears that the government is deliberately ignoring Swami Sanand’s fast. Let us not forget that young seer Swami Nigmanand died on the 115th day of his fast demanding halt to illegal mining in Ganga in 2011.



Swami Sanand is not merely a religious person. He was known as Professor G.D. Agarwal before he became a saint. He has served at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and as Member-Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board and is responsible for putting into place a number of pollution related norms.

Ganga couldn’t be cleaned after Rs. 500 crores were spent as part of Ganga Action Plan. The present government has proposed a budget of Rs. 20,000 for the Namami Gange project, of which Rs. 7,000 have already been spent. Swami Sanand says that Ganga would not be cleaned because the present government is following a similar programme as the past governments.

The capacity of Common Effluent Treatment Plants and Sewage Treatment Plants to clean industrial waste and sewage produced by cities, respectively, is simply not enough to handle all the wastes generated and whatever capacity has been built is not always functional. For example, against the 400 Million Litres per Day of sewage generated in Varanasi city, the built capacity of STPs is only one-fourth. Bhagwanpur plant, near Banares Hindu University, has a capacity of 8 MLD, Deenapur plant has a capacity of 80 MLD and Konia plant has a capacity of 150-200 MLD but works at only 30-40% of its capacity. Among these the Bhagwanpur plant works best but its capacity is minuscule compared to total sewage generated. Two more STPs are now under construction. When the plants are out of order or there is no electricity, the waste flows directly into the river untreated.

Assi river, which looks more like a drainage, and parts of it have been completely covered to actually make it a drainage, discharges 80 MLD of untreated sewage and Varuna river with 80-90 MLD of sewage discharges 75-80% of it untreated into Ganga. Parts of Assi and Varuna, two rivers from whom the city derives its name, are also used by Nagar Nigam as landfills. Seepage from these garbage heaps also pollutes the rivers.

Kanpur city produces 600 MLD of sewage and industrial waste whereas the built capacity to treat waste is hardly 200-250 MLD.

Corruption also has a role to play in this pollution. Employees of Municipal Corporation or State Pollution Control Boards, responsible for looking after the CETPs, allow the industrial waste to directly flow into the river bypassing the treatment plants by accepting bribes. When the manufacturing units increase their production capacity they don’t inform the PCBs officially. The extra waste generated is also allowed to join the river in exchange for bribes.

For example, none of the CETPs built in Ahmedabad are functional, reason for the extremely polluted water of Sabarmati river downstream of city. The water itself comes from Narmada canal as upstream from the city the river has dried up.

Only the contractors benefit from construction of STPs and CETPs. Government’s motivation to clean Ganga seems lacking and therefore Swami Sanand has sat on a fast unto death to demand a law for conservation of the river.

It is shocking that the government is not taking Swami Sanand’s fast seriously and neither is the media giving coverage to the fast, most likely at the behest of government. This is in spite of the fact that Narendra Modi declared when he went to contest the election from Varanasi that he had got a call from mother Ganga. After he took over as Prime Minister the name of Water Resources ministry was changed to include ‘Ganga Rejuvenation’ in it, as if there were no other rivers in the country.

Is it the famed Indian culture which Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh boasts off that just as Naremdra Modi-Amit Shah duo has marginalised senior leaders of Bhartiya Janata Parrty, they are now undervaluing Swami Sanand’s fast and will not have any qualms if he dies? Does the government, so worried about saving cows’ lives, not give priority to saving a Sadhu’s life?

Acquaintances of Swami Sanand are appalled at the way he has been left to die. If there is any sensitivity left in the government it should immediately enter into dialogue with Swami Sanand to end his fast and agree to make a law for conservation of not just Ganga but all water bodies of the entire country.

Sandeep Pandey is a social activist   e-mail: ashaashram@yahoo.com

Courtesy: https://countercurrents.org/

 

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RTI revelation: Rs 2,958 Crore Spent on Ganga 'clean-up' Without Visible Results

22 Dec 2016

The union government, despite the hype, spent only Rs 326 crore for cleaning Ganga, leaving more than Rs 1,700 crore unspent.
 
IANS report: It is not just the opposition which is out to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emotive connect with the river Ganga. Statistics show that very little has been done in the past two years of BJP rule - in spite of spending Rs 2,958 crore of the Rs 3,703 crore allocated - to improve the condition of the holy river.

The response to a Right to Information (RTI) poser by a Aishwarya Sharma, a Class 10 student from the city, to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has revealed that the much-hyped 'Namami Gange' programme is largely on paper, much like the previous schemes declared in the past 30 years.

In her RTI question on May 9, the 14-year-old Lucknow girl has sought answers to seven queries, which included details of the number of meetings the Prime Minister chaired on the sensitive issue, budgetary provisions and the expenses so far. Subroto Hazra, the central public information officer with the PMO, had forwarded the query to the union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry for a response.

K.K. Sapra of the ministry responded on July 4 and the answers explicitly show that Modi's 'Ganga Maiya ne bullaya hai' (Mother Ganga has summoned me) credo, which endeared Modi to the masses, specially in Varanasi, was little beyond an attempt to milk sentiments and votes.

The ministry said that Rs 2,137 crore was allocated for the national mission of Ganga cleaning in 2014-15. This was cut by Rs 84 crore to Rs 2,053 crore. But the union government, despite the hype, spent only Rs 326 crore, leaving more than Rs 1,700 crore unspent.

The situation did not change much in 2015-16 either and, in fact, the union government slashed the budgetary allocation from the proposed Rs 2,750 crore to Rs 1,650 crore. Of the amended budget, Rs 18 crore was unspent in 2015-16.

"This is completely baffling, keeping in mind the high-decibel campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself on cleaning the Ganga," an upset Aishwarya told IANS, adding she was deeply disappointed.

For the current 2016-17 fiscal, the student said the union government does not have any details of the expenses so far of the Rs 2,500 crore allocated.
Aishwarya also sought to know from "Modi uncle" why he has not been serious on the crucial project as is evident by the fact that of the three meetings of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), the Prime Minister chaired only one on March 26, 2015. The other two meetings - on October 27, 2014 and July 4, 2016 - were chaired by Union Minister Uma Bharati.

In contrast, Modi's predecessor Manmohan Singh had chaired all the three meetings of the NGRBA held in his second tenure -- on October 5, 2009, November 1, 2010 and April 17, 2012.

"I can just hope that Modi uncle delivers on this front as we all have high expectations from him," Aishwarya said with a wry smile.

Now, only time will tell whether the Modi government, which has promised to spend Rs 20,000 crore over the next five years on Ganga rejuvenation and cleaning, delivers on its promise or not. For now, rather than 'Ganga Maiya ne bullaya hai' the apt credo is "Ganga Maiya ko bhulaya hai" (Mother Ganga has been forgotten).

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in)
 

RTI revelation: Rs 2,958 Crore Spent on Ganga 'clean-up' Without Visible Results


The union government, despite the hype, spent only Rs 326 crore for cleaning Ganga, leaving more than Rs 1,700 crore unspent.
 
IANS report: It is not just the opposition which is out to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emotive connect with the river Ganga. Statistics show that very little has been done in the past two years of BJP rule - in spite of spending Rs 2,958 crore of the Rs 3,703 crore allocated - to improve the condition of the holy river.

The response to a Right to Information (RTI) poser by a Aishwarya Sharma, a Class 10 student from the city, to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has revealed that the much-hyped 'Namami Gange' programme is largely on paper, much like the previous schemes declared in the past 30 years.

In her RTI question on May 9, the 14-year-old Lucknow girl has sought answers to seven queries, which included details of the number of meetings the Prime Minister chaired on the sensitive issue, budgetary provisions and the expenses so far. Subroto Hazra, the central public information officer with the PMO, had forwarded the query to the union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry for a response.

K.K. Sapra of the ministry responded on July 4 and the answers explicitly show that Modi's 'Ganga Maiya ne bullaya hai' (Mother Ganga has summoned me) credo, which endeared Modi to the masses, specially in Varanasi, was little beyond an attempt to milk sentiments and votes.

The ministry said that Rs 2,137 crore was allocated for the national mission of Ganga cleaning in 2014-15. This was cut by Rs 84 crore to Rs 2,053 crore. But the union government, despite the hype, spent only Rs 326 crore, leaving more than Rs 1,700 crore unspent.

The situation did not change much in 2015-16 either and, in fact, the union government slashed the budgetary allocation from the proposed Rs 2,750 crore to Rs 1,650 crore. Of the amended budget, Rs 18 crore was unspent in 2015-16.

"This is completely baffling, keeping in mind the high-decibel campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself on cleaning the Ganga," an upset Aishwarya told IANS, adding she was deeply disappointed.

For the current 2016-17 fiscal, the student said the union government does not have any details of the expenses so far of the Rs 2,500 crore allocated.
Aishwarya also sought to know from "Modi uncle" why he has not been serious on the crucial project as is evident by the fact that of the three meetings of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), the Prime Minister chaired only one on March 26, 2015. The other two meetings - on October 27, 2014 and July 4, 2016 - were chaired by Union Minister Uma Bharati.

In contrast, Modi's predecessor Manmohan Singh had chaired all the three meetings of the NGRBA held in his second tenure -- on October 5, 2009, November 1, 2010 and April 17, 2012.

"I can just hope that Modi uncle delivers on this front as we all have high expectations from him," Aishwarya said with a wry smile.

Now, only time will tell whether the Modi government, which has promised to spend Rs 20,000 crore over the next five years on Ganga rejuvenation and cleaning, delivers on its promise or not. For now, rather than 'Ganga Maiya ne bullaya hai' the apt credo is "Ganga Maiya ko bhulaya hai" (Mother Ganga has been forgotten).

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in)
 

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