Ganga Activists not Against Development: Uma Bharti
By PTI | Published: 28th January 2014 05:19 PM |
Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti today sought to dispel the notion that save-Ganga activists are against development saying they wanted to keep the river clean and flowing.
Addressing a seminar on Ganga Samvad here, Bharti said, "We are not averse to development or against the hydel projects being constructed on the Ganga. All we want is that the mighty river should be made clean and its flow remains uninterrupted."
"The hydro-electric projects being built on the river and its cleanliness can go hand-in-hand only if the hydel project companies spend a little more to maintain the balance," she said.
To stress her point, she said she was not against sand mining as many seemed to believe.
"We don't want sand mining to be brought to a halt. All we want is that sand mining should be river-friendly," Bharti, who heads the Ganga Samgra campaign, said.
She said that the industrial town of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh was mainly responsible for polluting the river and arresting its flow, and asked the Centre to make the Ganga Basin Authority Ganga-centric in the true sense of the term so that it could do something to block the flow of toxic industrial waste into the river.
She also demanded that a University be set up in Uttarakhand dedicated to research on the Ganga which originates in the Himalayan state.
Describing the achievements of the save-Ganga campaign so far as a drop in the ocean, Bharti said she was only carrying forward a mission initiated by the country's ancient sages.
Speaking at the seminar, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank described Uttarakhand, where the Ganga originates, as the spiritual capital of the country and said maintenance of its forests was a must to save the mighty river.
He also suggested that the forests of Uttarakhand cannot be saved until they are connected to people's livelihood and made an integral part of its economy.
Noted environmentalist Jagat Singh Junglee credited Nishank for the Rs 1,000 crore grant approved by the Centre as Green Bonus.
He said saving the Ganga not only meant depolluting the river and maintaining its flow, but also keeping alive the numerous streams that fed it.
Noted environmentalist and Himalayan Chipko Foundation Chief J P Dabral laid stress on maintenance of bio-diversity around the Ganga and evolving a sound water-recharging mechanism to save the river.
Dabral also broached the idea of converting the Himalayas into a water-harvesting structure to maintain the continuous flow of the Ganga.