Magsaysay award-winner ‘Waterman’ Rajendra Singh,who stepped down from National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) along with two others protesting government’s “negligence” of the river,today criticised the Prime Minister for “not understanding his responsibility” towards the river as head of the body.
Singh,addressing a press conference,said he would come out with a Ganga Lok Bill within a week proposing “strong and effective” legislative measures to protect the river.
“He is a sober Prime Minister but I am angry that he did not understand his responsibilities towards Ganga…. The Prime Minister never tried to understand suggestions and activities of the members (of NGRBA),” Singh said.
Singh along with Ravi Chopra and R H Siddiqi had sent their resignation letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday,who is chairman of the NGRBA,protesting inaction of the body in protecting the river and expressing solidarity with noted environmentalist G D Agrawal who is on “fast-unto-death” to press for cleaning up the Ganges.
Announcing their decision to quit NGRBA,the three members charged the Centre with “gross negligence towards worsening state of the holy river” and said the government has neither political will nor any executable plan to save the Ganges. They also criticised the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh,Bihar,Jharkhand,Uttarakhand and West Bengal,who are members of the NGRBA,for failing to take any steps to protect the river.
The NGRBA was constituted on February 20,2009,under Section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act,1986 and its objective was to ensure effective control of pollution and conservation of the river by adopting a river-basin approach for comprehensive planning and management.