Bhagirathi Bachao Sankalp
Under the Banner of Indian Council for Enviro Legal Action (ICELA)
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For Immediate Release
January 28, 2009
Erstwhile princely states’ rulers pledge to protect and preserve Ganga’s honour and dignity
New Delhi, January 28, 2009: Rulers of erstwhile princely states in India today pledged to unitedly impress upon the government to maintain the honour and dignity surrounding the river Ganga as well as its national river status. At a general meeting organized today in the campus of Gandhi Darshan, by “Waterman of India” Mr. Rajendra Singh in support demands raised by Dr. G.D. Agarwal on the issue, speakers said they were ready to shoulder the onerous duty of protecting the river Ganga.
Maharaja Gaj Singh, representing the erstwhile Jodhpur state, said that all concerned should come forward to protect the river Ganga and help in effectively highlighting the demands raised by Dr. Agrawal before the Centre. The today’s meeting was organized in response to the earlier ultimatum that the erstwhile royalty had served upon the government that if it failed to stop work on the Lohari Nag Pala Hydropower project by January 28, 2009, they would launch an agitation on the issue. Members of the erstwhile royalty said their ancestors had entered into an agreement in 1916 with the then British government, to not allow any construction activity on the Ganga upstream of Haridwar.
Speaking on the occasion, Mahant Shivananda from Haridwar said that the river Ganga represented nation’s honour which is supreme. But the government deceived Dr. Agarwal on the issue of maintaining the dignity and honour of the important river, he said. He said that all should unitedly forge a common front to prevail upon the government that issues of faith cannot be weighed in terms of pieces of silver. He appealed to the government to maintain the dignity, respect and honour of the national river.
Mahant Veer Bhadra from Sankatmochan Foundation, Varanasi, said that Lord Rama’s name and the river Ganga were two important basic tenets of the Indian philosophy of life. He lamented the government was not taking the requisite steps to protect and preserve the river Ganga.
Former Tehri (Uttarakhand) ruler Manujendra Shah said that the flow the river Ganga should not be hindered.
Noted environmentalist Sunita Narain said that unhindered flow of water in a river is a pre-requisite to preventing pollution in it. She said that a river can be said to be alive only if it has a free flow of water in all its stretches. Ms. Narain said that detailed project report of hydro power project only document details of a particular project while completely ignoring the important factors governing the river’s very existence. She said that Dr. Agarwal’s efforts would result in the emergence of a new dawn on important environmental issues.
In his address to the gathering, Dr. Agarwal termed the river Ganga as the nation’s identity. He said that maintaining pristine and natural flows in the upper reaches of the river is highly important. He said it is highly unfortunate that the river Ganga’s festive spirit has been completely ignored by the people.
Mr. Digvijay Singh, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh said that there is a special place for the river Ganga in the hearts and minds of the people of India. Mr. Singh praised the efforts of Dr. Agarwal in raising important issues connected with faith and belief and urged all concerned to fully supported the cause of protecting the river Ganga.
Gandhi Peace Foundation’s Radha Bahen said that Dr. Agarwal’s commitment to the protection of the sanctity of the river Ganga is exemplary as it is not an ordinary river.
For further information, please contact: Anil Gautam-0135-2762516, 9412176896Pavitra Singh 011-32088803, 9410706109