After fasting for over 100 days, urging the government to clean river Ganga, environmentalist G.D. Agarwal succumbed to a heart attack on Thursday.
Agarwal was only consuming water mixed with honey, which also he gave up on October 9 when the government failed to address his demands.
The 87-year-old environmentalist was demanding a free-flowing Ganga, thereby, demanding the government to halt all hydroelectric projects along the tributaries of the river. He also urged for the enactment of a Ganga Protection Management Act.
He wrote three letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which the latter chose to conveniently ignore and did not reply to any of those.
In his third and final letter, Agarwal 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 and in her place gains are to be seen only for the corporate sector and several business houses.”
In the letter only, Agarwal put forward his four requests, which are:
- 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 under construction 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.
The environmentalist wrote the first letter on June 13, 2018, to which he did not receive any response, following which he did as promised and started his fast from June 22, 2018.
Will the Prime Minister Narendra Modi listen to his demands now and bring some peace to his soul?