Monday, February 23, 2009

Press Release - 20.02.2009

For Immediate Release

GoI Suspends Work On Loharinag-Pala Dam

In a letter dated February 19, 2009 to Dr. G.D. Agrawal, the Union Ministry of Power stated that it had decided to suspend work on the Loharinag-Pala hydropower project on the Bhagirathi river with immediate effect. In response Dr. Agrawal ended his fast this morning at 11:00am.

It may be recalled that Dr. G.D. Agrawal had begun a fast-unto-death on June 13, 2008 demanding that the Bhagirathi river be allowed to flow in its natural form from Gangotri to Uttarkashi. He suspended that fast on June 30, 2008 after the Union Ministry of Power decided to appoint a High Level Expert Group to look into the technical issues pertaining to ensuring adequate environmental flows in all stretches of the Bhagirathi river and keeping it alive.

Dissatisfied with the delays and the nature of the discussions in the HLEG, Dr. Agrawal resumed his fast-unto-death in New Delhi on January 14, 2009.

“The decision of the Union Ministry of Power has been taken at the instance of the Prime Minister’s Office. This is a welcome decision. Earlier the Prime Minister had taken the important step to designate the Ganga as India’s National River. The latest decision shows that the Prime Minister recognizes the gravity of the demand to ensure that the Bhagirathi river should be allowed to flow unhindered in its uppermost reach. We hope that the Government of Uttarakhand will be equally sensitive to the special reverence that Indians have for the Ganga and not resume work on its suspended projects,” says Dr. Ravi Chopra, Director, People’s Science Institute, Dehra Doon.

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