AMN / Rishikesh
Enviornmentalist G D Agarwal, who was on an indefinite fast since June 22 to pressurise the government to clean river Ganga, has died at the AIIMS hospital in Rishikesh. He was 87.
Agarwal, also known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, was shifted by the police from Haridwar to AIIMS in Rishikesh yesterday after being on fast for 109 days.
He was reportedly demanding a law that would protect river Ganga and maintain its uninterrupted flow between Gangotri and Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand.
A former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) professor, Agarwal was unhappy over unsatisfactory and ineffective efforts at cleaning the Ganga.
Besides, Agarwal was against ongoing construction of dams/barrages/tunnels on Ganga which he said would totally destroy the natural flow and quality of the river water.
Agarwal had also served as secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board, the country’s premier anti-pollution body, and helped put together environmental legislation in India.
According to reports the ‘Clean Ganga’ activist was only consuming water mixed with honey during his fast. Two days ago, he had reportedly also given up water after talks on his demands failed.
GD Agarwal was once a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He had also served as a Member-Secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board or CPCB.
He had previously too held fasts for the protection of rivers. His fast in 2009 had led to the construction of a dam on river Bhagirathi being stopped.
Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan in a tweet said that GD Agarwal’s pleas to clean Ganga were not acted upon. “GD Agarwal, our leading environmentalist who fasted 109 days to save the Ganga, was forcibly picked up by the Uttarakhand police&hospitalized yesterday.He passed away today after his pleas to save the Ganga fell on Modi’s deaf years. RIP Dear Sir. This world is not for pure souls (SIC)” Mr Bhushan tweeted.
PM Modi expresses grief over demise of GD Agarwal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the demise of GD Agarwal.
In a tweet, Mr Modi said his passion towards learning, education, saving the environment, particularly Ganga cleaning will always be remembered.