102 days into fast, 81-year-old IIT Professor gives up water to save Ganga

Published: 22nd September 2013 06:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2013 06:26 PM   |  A+A-


Environmental engineer and former IIT professor G.D. Agarwal, continuing for the 102nd day Sunday his fast unto death to save the Ganga river, has now given up water too, a close aide said.

Agarwal, 81, has been on fast in the Matr Sadan Ashram of Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh. He has been demanding that the government take steps to save the Ganga river and its ecology, and ensure that the flow of the river water is uninterrupted.

"He is a noted scientist and has been fasting so many days for saving the Ganga. It is so shameful that the government has not even bothered to reply to his letters," said Acharya Jitender, a close aide of the environmentalist.

Jitender said Agarwal on Sep 19 wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam in this regard, but has not yet heard from any of them.

Three members of the National Ganga River Basin Authority -- Rajendra Singh, Ravi Chopra and Rashid Siddiqui -- quit from the authority Saturday over this and other issues.

Last year, Agarwal had called off his indefinite fast following an assurance from the prime minister that he would look into the matter.

A retired professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Kanpur, Agarwal is unhappy over the unsatisfactory and ineffective functioning of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), a central government-constituted agency for cleaning the Ganga.

Besides, Agarwal has opposed the ongoing construction of dams, barrages and tunnels on the Ganga, which he says would totally destroy the natural flow and quality of the river water.

Agarwal was a founder-member and secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board, the country's premier anti-pollution authority, and helped put together environmental legislation in India. This is the fourth indefinite period fast he has undertaken in the last four years.

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