Sunday, January 25, 2009

Press Release - 25.01.2009

Bhagirathi Bachao Sankalp
Under the Banner of Indian Council for Enviro Legal Action (ICELA)
Kuriyal Bhawan, Bhairav Chowk, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand
Telefax: 01374-222937,, Website:

For Immediate Release

January 25, 2009

R.N. Singh resigns from HLEG in protest against its “unscientific attitude”

Says he recommended 16 cumecs of environmental flow while HLEG report has just 3 cumecs

New Delhi, January 25, 2009: In a major development, Mr. R.N. Singh, a senior member of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) today resigned from the group in protest against what he termed as “official apathy on the part of HLEG in recommending maintenance of the required environmental flows in the river Bhagirathi”. Mr. Singh, a scientist nominated by the Centre to the HLEG said that his repeated assertions of maintaining the required flow of 16 cumecs in the river Bhagirathi was not considered favourably by the HLEG.
Mr. Singh said as a scientist, he did not agree with the most unscientific way of working of the HLEG members. Stating that most members did not even have a science background, he said while he had recommended maintaining 16 cumecs of water in the river Bhagirathi as minimum environmental flow, the other members in the HLEG had decided otherwise. He said he felt unhappy at the mention of merely 3 cumecs in the HLEG’s last draft report and hence resigned in protest. He said he was unhappy not only because his views on the issue had been totally ignored but also due to the unscientific methods being followed by the HLEG.
Today, noted preacher Sant Gopal Maniji Maharaj met Dr. G.D. Agrawal at Akhil Bhartiya Mahasabha Bhawan, Delhi, to express their support to him even as his fast to maintain uninterrupted flow in river Bhagirathi continued for the 13th day today. Sant Maharaj told Dr. Agrawal that there has been a deviation in the maintenance of cultural values and all those who are hell bent on killing the river Ganga in the name of development will have to face the consequences in the future. Dr. B.N. Pandey, a freedom fighter and organizing secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Swantantra Sangram Senani Sangathan, also met Dr. Agrawal and expressed his support. He said that his organization would do everything to help achieve the desired objectives.
Meanwhile, Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde assured a delegation of supporters of Dr. G.D. Agrawal that he would instruct maintenance of “shoulder-deep” water level in the entire stretch of the river Bhairathi. The minister said this when the delegation comprising of “Waterman of India” Mr. Rajendra Singh, Mr. S.K. Gupta, P.C. Tyagi, Mr. Pradeep Nagrath and Dr. Ravi Chopra, met him in Delhi on Saturday and apprised him of the demands.
People are coming in large numbers to meet and express their support to Dr. Agrawal. Today’s visitors include noted environment lawyer and Magsaysay Award winner Mr. M.C. Mehta, Dr. Ravi Chopra, Director, PSI Dehradun and Rajendra Singh. Besides, a large number of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, also met Dr. Agarwal and expressed their support for the cause.
Dr. Agarwal, who has served as the Head of the Department of Environmental Engineering at IIT, Kanpur, had earlier undertaken a fast-unto-death in June last year to press for his demand for allowing free and unhindered flow of Bhagirathi river between Gangotri and Uttarkashi.

For further information, please contact: Anil Gautam-0135-2762516, 9412176896Pavitra Singh 011-32088803, 9410706109.

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