uses hunger, silence to save Ganga from dams
June 14 (IANS) G.D. Agarwal, an environmentalist who has taken
a vow of silence and is on a hunger strike in Uttarakhand
to object to dams being built on the Ganga, is adamant not
to end his protest till the prime minister gives in writing
that no dam will be built on the river.
76, began his protest at Manikanika Ghat in Uttarkashi Friday
after his attempts in the past few years to prevent concrete
structures from being built on the river failed.
former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) professor does
not want dams to be built in a 100 km stretch between Gangotri,
the source of the river, and Uttarkashi since he believes
that restricting the river's natural flow will lead to an
will break his fast and silence only if the prime minister
gives a written promise that no new dams would be erected
on the river," water conservationist Rajendra Singh,
accompanying Agarwal in his protest, told IANS.
has served as a secretary of the Central Pollution Control
Board, the country's premier anti-pollution body, and helped
put together environmental legislation in India.
Chopra, director of the Dehradun-based People's Science Institute
that Agarwal is currently chairing, told IANS that as many
as six new dams were being built on the 100 km stretch and
three of them would generate hydro electricity of approximately
1,500 mega watts (MW).
Singh said: "The people in the region don't require the
six dams, which will adversely affect the ecology. The dams
will only increase the government's revenue through the sale
of the electricity generated."
said there were already around 30 existing dams on the river
and the government envisaged around 200 more dams on the Ganga
and its tributaries in Uttarakhand alone.
expect to generate 25,000 MW power from these dams, but such
plans will have adverse social, ecological and economical
impact on the local population," he added.
said Agarwal strongly believed that "Ganga is not like
any other river. It is the mother of all rivers in India.
Besides the environmental effects of restricting its flows,
there would be an impact on an entire cultural civilisation
built around the holy river".