Environmentalist and save Ganga activist Professor G.D. Agrawal’s more than 100 days of fast-unto-death, resulted in a tragic end. He died of cardiac arrest at AIIMS Rishikesh on Thursday afternoon. The 86 year old activist left behind a legacy of steadfastness.
According to The Wire, to pressurize the central government, the former IIT Kanpur Professor, also known as Swami Gyanswaroop Sanand gave up even drinking water. He had been protesting against hydroelectric projects on River Ganga’s tributaries. He had also been demanding a law for the protection of the River Ganga.
Several media reports have highlighted the late activist’s final letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In one of many letters he wrote to PM, he wrote “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, instead, gains are to be seen only for the corporate sector and several business houses.”
- National Seminar on “Purification of River water of MAA Ganga”
- Water Scarcity: Why Is It not Declared a National Crisis Yet?
- WORLD WATER SUMMIT 2018: Clean & Safe Water Solutions for a Sustainable World
According to a report in Huffington Post, “Union Water Resources and Ganga River Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari said almost all his demands had been met. He had also written a letter to Agrawal to give up the fast. The ministry had been entrusted for the implementation of the ambitious Namami Gange (Clean Ganga) Mission, regarded as the Prime Minister’s pet project.
Agrawal had, broadly, requested the government to bring the Draft Bill prepared by Ganga Mahasabha in 2012 for discussion in the Parliament immediately and get it passed. If this doesn’t happen, from the said Bill, items from Chapter 1 (Article 1 – 9) be brought into force by way of an immediate Presidential Ordinance.
He called for the cancellation of all the hydel power projects that are under construction over Alakananda, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar and Mandakini and also cancel all the proposed hydel power projects on Gangaji and all feeder streams.
He also requested to constitute a Ganga Bhakta Parishad provisionally in which 20 members will be nominated by PM, oath to be taken whilst standing in the waters of Gangaji that they will act only in the interests benefitting Gangaji.
The Prime Minister has condoled Agrawal’s demise saying “his passion for saving the environment will always be remembered.”
The Livemint had stated in 2017 that Ganga was an ideological issue for the BJP and the Union Government. “Apart from the electoral importance of Ganga and the over 160 Lok Sabha seats in its path, the river flows through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which comprise a major part of the Hindi heart of India”, LiveMint added.