The government has said that almost all the demands made by Ganga activist G D Agarwal, who was on an indefinite hunger strike and died Thursday, had been accepted. On Wednesday, Water Resources and Ganga River Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari had said, “We have accepted almost all his demands (on cleaning of the Ganga). One demand was to ensure environmental flow and we have come out with a notification.”
The government on Tuesday had come out with the e-flow gazette notification. The notification states the minimum environmental flows for Ganga river that is to be maintained at various locations on the water body. The second demand, Gadkari said, was to bring a legislation to protect Ganga. He said the legislation has been sent to Cabinet for approval, following which it will be tabled in Parliament.
“He had some demands related to (upcoming) hydro-power projects (on river Ganga). We are trying to bring all stakeholders together and sort the issue at the earliest. I had also written a letter to him stating that we have accepted nearly 70-80 per cent and that we need him and he should stop his fast,” the minister had said. Agarwal died at the AIIMS hospital in Rishikesh on Thursday. Reacting to Agarwal’s death, AAP leader and party’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said the activist was on an indefinite hunger strike for more than 100 days and the “insensitive government” was “waiting for him to die”. “I had requested the government to save it, but those seeking vote on his name could not save him (sic),” Singh tweeted.
Senior Congress leader and former environment minister Jairam Ramesh expressed anguish over his “martyrdom”. “He was an indefatigable crusader not only for Nirmal Ganga but also for Aviral Ganga. It was my privilege and good fortune to be able to implement some of his important suggestions to ensure uninterrupted flow in the Ganga and its tributaries in Uttarakhand. I salute his commitment and dedication, his scholarship and learning, his faith and passion,” Ramesh said.