Union Minister for Environment and Forest,Jayanthi Natarajan,on Sunday said that the Centre has taken several unprecedented steps to allay the fears of environmentalist Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (formerly Prof G D Agarwal) and other saints on the issue of conservation of the river Ganga.
The statement came a day after a delegation from the Prime Ministers office on Saturday met Swami Sanand in Varanasi amid vocal protest from the supporters of the Ganga Seva Abhiyaan (GSA),which is coordinating the protests. They are demanding stopping of work on power projects coming up on Ganga and its tributaries in Uttarakhand,besides maintenance of adequate water flow downstream in the river. Swami Sanand has gone on fast-unto-death many times to get his demands met.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) function at Sangam here,Ms Natarajan said,We have taken several unprecedented steps with respect to Swami Sanand. We invited him to the meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) and adopted their agenda in the NGRBA. The Prime Minister (also chairman,NGRBA) and (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi have personally intervened and given directions that whatever is necessary for removing pollution in Ganga and conserving its ecology should be done.
The Minister added that as far as maintaining the flow of the river is concerned,there were several reports on the issue.