June 21, 2008 DehraDoon/Uttarkashi
Dr. G.D. Agarwal to continue his fast-unto-death in New Delhi
On June 20, 2008, Secretary, Power, Housing and Urban Development Shri Shatrughan Singh called on Dr. G.D. Agrawal at Manikarnika Ghat where he is on a fast-unto-death, and handed over an official letter No. A.SHA. 140 / P.S. / Camp / dated June 19, 2008, to him.
Dr. G.D. Agrawal welcomed the Government's decision to immediately suspend work on two major power projects (480 MW Pala-Maneri and 381 MW Bhairon Ghati) in the Bhagirathi valley and said that the move reflected the government’s recognition of the importance and need for maintaining an unfettered flow of the river Bhagirathi. Dr. Agrawal, however, pointed out a few discrepancies in the government’s recent move:
1. The work on the two projects -- 480 MW Pala-Maneri and 381 MW Bhairon Ghati -- has merely been suspended and these two projects have not been completely withdrawn.
2. Maneri Bhali – I and Maneri Bhali – II projects have already been commissioned and as such are proving highly detrimental in maintaining unfettered flow of river Bhagirathi. He, however, said that the Government can make amends by suitably scaling down the limit of power production, the specifics of which can be worked out at a later stage.
“Suspension of work on two major power projects is a positive sign and we are thankful to the government for the same but this leaves out the NTPC’s Loharinag Pala from the purview of projects which are needed to be completely shut down for all times to come”, said Dr. Anil Gautam, one of Dr. Agrawal’s students who is also camping in Uttarkashi. He added that until this project is completely done away with, unfettered flows of Bhagirathi cannot be ensured. He reiterated Dr. Agrawal’s resolve to continue his fast-unto-death and said that he would end his fast-unto-death only after his demand of maintaining an unfettered flow in the river Bhagirathi between Gangotri and Dharasu, was acceded to by the Government.
In a major development, Dr. Agrawal has decided to shift his base to New Delhi and continue his fast there from 23rd of June. Dr. Agrawal felt that shifting his base would be helpful to pressurize the central Government to withdraw the Loharinag- Pala project on the river Bhagirathi. He asked all Indians who revered Ganga as their mother to join him in his struggle.
Yesterday, on June 20, 2008, Jagatguru Shakaracharya Swami Swarupananda Saraswati arrived at Uttarkashi's Manikarnika Ghat and met Dr. Agrawal to extend his full support to the campaign. The Jagatguru also asked one of his disciples Swami Paripurnanand to join Dr. Agrawal in his fast-unto-death.
Meanwhile, support from across the country is flowing in even as Dr. Agrawal's fast-unto-death in support of his demand continued for the ninth day today. Today, a letter of support from Aviral Bharat Hindu Mahasabha was received at Uttarkashi.
Dr. Agrawal's failing health condition is causing concern to his supporters. Recently, doctors who examined him had also advised urine examination and kidney and liver tests.