For Immediate Release
January 21, 2009
NTPC’s Loharinag-Pala dam violates Ganga’s national river status: M.C. Mehta
New Delhi, January 21, 2009: Noted environment lawyer and Magsaysay Award winner Mr. M.C. Mehta has criticized the Central Government’s indifferent attitude to renowned environmentalist Dr. G.D. Agarwal’s demand to immediately halt all construction activities on the 600 MW Lohari Nag Pala Hydropower Project in Uttarakhand. Mr. Mehta met Dr. Agarwal today at Akhil Bhartiya Mahasabha Bhawan, Delhi, where he has been fasting-unto-death since Wednesday, January 14, and expressed his support for the cause.
Mr. Mehta asserted that the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) was causing irreversible damage to the river Bhagirathi by building a dam at Loharinag on it, completely ignoring the Government of India’s decision to declare the Ganga as a national river.
“Waterman of India” Mr. Rajendra Singh, also expressed his support to the demands raised by Dr. Agarwal and warned that if the Centre failed to give any concrete response to the demands before January 28, 2009, the activists would be forced to launch an agitation on the issue. He said that the descendents of erstwhile princely estates which had entered into an agreement in 1916 with the then British government, to not allow any construction activity on the Ganga upstream of Haridwar, would also participate in the agitation. He said the river Ganga was a symbol of India’s faith and culture and it was the life support system for the country’s population resident in the northern plains. It becomes imperative on the part of the government, therefore, to completely halt all dam construction activities on the important river.
Among others who met Dr. Agarwal today to express their support for the cause included Swami Shivananda of Matra Sadan, Haridwar, who turned up at the site of fast-unto-death along with his disciples. In addition, Mr. Subodh Nandan Sharma and Lalit Tyagi of Brijghat, and others who visited Dr. Agarwal said that they would begin a Ganga Bachao Yatra on January 25, 2009 which would leave for Delhi the same day and reach there on January 28. Mr. Ghanshyam, founder of “Judao”, a Jharkhand-based organsiation also met Dr. Agarwal.
For further information, please contact: Anil Gautam-0135-2762516, 9412176896Pavitra Singh 011-32088803, 9410706109