It has been more than 102 days since environmentalist and former IIT professor GD Agrawal started his fast-unto-death to save the Ganga but the event has been completely ignored by the powers that be, including the UPA government at the Centre.
The octogenarian has now stopped taking water. Agrawal has been pleading with the central government to take strong measures to protect the Ganga river and its ecology and keep its flow uninterrupted.
Probably owing to the same apathy, the three expert members – water rights activist Rajendra Singh, Ravi Chopra and Professor Rashid Hyatt Siddiqui Rashid Siddiqui – resigned, for the second time, from the membership of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) on Friday.
Last year too, the trio had tendered their resignations due to government’s ignorance of the river’s plight but the resignations were rejected and a meeting of NGRBA was called soon thereafter in April.
Headed by prime minister Manmohan Singh, the NGRBA was formed as the top body on the Ganga in early 2009 after protests that Ganga Action Plan (Phase I) had failed to clean up the river.
Only three meetings of the NGRBA have taken place in the last four years with the last one in April 2012. Soon after the Uttarakhand disaster, the three members raised the matter with government, sought a brief meeting with the prime minister to discuss the issue and seek an early meeting of the authority.
“But none from PM’s office got back to us and thus no meeting ever took place,” water rights activist and NGRBA member Rajender Singh told dna.
Agrawal, also known as Swami Gyanswaroop Sanand has been on fast at Haridwar’s Matr Sadan Ashram since June 13, 2013. It is his fourth fast-unto-death in the last four years. Last year, Agarwal had called off his indefinite fast following assurances by the prime minister to look into the matter and call the NGRBA meeting.
Agarwal wrote to president Pranab Mukherjee, prime minister Manmohan Singh and chief justice of India P Sathasivam on Sepember 19 on the issues pertaining to the Ganga river but has not not heard anything from them as yet.
His aides said that the government has not bothered to reply to his letters.