his country is not worth dying for; good people should not fast for any cause. Let the country rot, ‘who cares’ is the attitude of the powers. Those who made false promises to clean Ganga and made loud slogans, hit the headlines 24/7 and those who died for the cause is forgotten by the media. Politicians will always do what is profitable for them. The Modi government failed in all fields either in the economy, industry, employment, corruption, Kashmir issue, demonetisation, banking, petrol, diesel, smart city, farmer suicide, and lastly the clean Ganga project. Activist GD Agarwal, who was on an indefinite fast since June 22 to urge the government to clean river Ganga, died keeping his dreams unfulfilled. All the Ganga champions have faded one by one. Pandit Veer Bhadra Mishra, GD Agarwal, and so on. The Ganga River will die like the Narmada. It shows how hollow Modi’s faith is. This whole nation must be ashamed. We, the second most populated country, is killing this planet in every possible way. Our rivers, mountains, forests are awful by our utter disregard and wanton destruction. The only pastime we have is politics. It is quite unfortunate that despite promising so much on Maa Ganga, nothing was done in these past four years. We lost a great fighter of Maa Ganga due to mishandling of the present government.
The Ganga activist GD Agarwal, also known as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, a true hero and custodian of the Environment, sat on a fast demanding a step that would protect the river and maintain its uninterrupted flow between Gangotri and Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand. This is the time all countrymen need to wake up and protect our environment and climate to pay the respect and condolence to the departed warrior who fought for this noble cause till the end and sacrificed his life. Modi is just a showman, he doesn’t care about real people on the ground who want to make a difference. The government made a namesake ministry for Ganga cleaning. Letting a leading environmentalist die for the very same cause the ministry was made, proves it was a hollow commitment.
However, a day before the activist died, Union Water Resources and Ganga River Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari had said that almost all his demands had been met and he had written a letter to GD Agarwal to give up his fast. But after the death of GD Agarwal, his peers exposed that letter to media where the letter was more of a draft; signature and date both were missing on it. After that, the centre had come out with a gazette notification stating the minimum environmental flow that is to be maintained at various locations.
GD Agarwal had sent several letters to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had in 2014 pledged on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to ensure cleaning of the holy river. However, the government paid no heed to his demands. The activist 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. Citing an RTI reply that said the pollution levels in Ganga are higher than the levels recorded back in 2014, the Congress said that the Centre failed to do anything for the river despite launching many programmes such as Namami Gange. Lab tests from Modi’s constituency Varanasi have found that bacterial adulteration is now higher than the levels recorded back in 2014. In 2014, during the election campaign, Modi took a pledge to save the Ganga by invoking dramatic emotions in a heart-wrenching tone, by shedding few crocodile tears. Uma Bharati, BJP’s veteran leaders gulped loads of funds and was sidelined. Under the Namami Gange project, Rs 22,238.73 crore were spent to clean the river. Only one-fourth of the sanctioned projects are complete. A majority of sanctioned and completed projects under Namami Gange are sewage treatment plants (STPs). Till date, Namami Gange had created only 329.3 million litres per day of the 2,278.08 mild sewage treatment capacities it aimed for. Only one-fourth (26) of the sanctioned projects have been completed.
It’s high time people of the nation should ask whether the death of an activist fighting to save the Ganga is less important than those who raise slogans for River Ganga? Who should be blamed for the activist’s death? And why should people vote for Modi?
The River Ganga is the largest river in India and nearly 40 per cent of its population is directly or indirectly dependent on the Ganges. No other river in the world has such a large amount of people dependent on it. The contamination and pollution due to various industrial wastes, a large number of devotees visiting over there, immersion of dead bodies (this has been partially banned now) into the river has led to extremely high rates of pollutants in the river and this has a direct impact on the lives of nearly 500 million Indians! Now coming to the spiritual part, Ganga is believed to be sacred by the Hindus and has a very important place in the culture and history of India. A healthy and clean Ganga will lead to a better health and better overall standard of living of nearly 500 million people and above all a better India.
In July 2014, the government announced “Namami Ganga,” (in Sanskrit it means “obeisance to the Ganges”), an Integrated Ganges Development Project, and allocated around $334 million for it. But nothing went according to the plan; Modi and BJP used COW and Ganga to invoke Hindu sentiments by grabbing very meaty majority votes and forgot the promises that they made. In four years of their rule, they are getting exposed for their lies and many social workers who are fighting for the cause are giving up their lives towards a better India.
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