Saturday, May 17, 2008

Prof. Agarwal's Letter regarding 'Fasting Unto Death'

Pramod-Van, Chitrakoot, M.P. Date: 14/04/08

Re: My Intention of “Fasting Unto Death” for Conservation of BHAGIRATHI

Dear: …………………………………...

1. As you are aware, R. Bhagirathi Ganga has a very special place in Indian culture, thought and tradition. In the past few years, however, the continuity, quantity, quality and regime of flows is being disrupted for generation of hydro-electricity like all other rivers. Already in the reach downstream of Maneri, long stretches of Bhagirathi remain water less for long periods. In near future this may become the state of the entire river. As a serious student of environment sciences and as a faithful Hindu, this is hard for me to swallow. I strongly believe that at least Bhagirathi upstream of Uttarkashi should be spared of any works that disturb it’s natural flow-regime, ecology, purity or piety and, after brooding over it for several months, I have decided to oppose such works with all the might I have.

2. What might do I have to oppose such works in the face of the terrible lust for money, material comforts and particularly for electrical energy both on part of the governments and masses alike at the present state of our country? Well, I Pride to be from a culture that places the power of “Sacrifice and asceticism” (tapasya) above all other powers. And what is the use and meaning of “faith” if one is not willing to sacrifice for it! So after deep deliberation I have decided to “fast-unto-death” to oppose the destruction of this ecological marvel and the epitome of Hindu cultural “faith”.

3. In Chitrakoot, where Lord Rama performed his Tapasya, on his auspicious birth-day, Ram-Navami, April 14, 2008, I hereby resolve, that barring circumstances unforeseen, I shall go on a “fast-unto-death” from Ganga-Dashehra, June 13, 2008 to oppose the foul meddling going on with the stream of Bhagirathi upstream of Uttarkashi. May Lord Rama give me the strength of staying firm in my resolve. 4. In the name of your affection and concern for me, I pray to you not to do anything that may even distantly try to make me waiver from my resolve and if by any means, you find me your blessings.

5. After May 15, 2008, I plan to stay somewhere around Uttarkashi most of the time. You could find my location from either M.C. Mehta Environmental Foundation (Tel: 011-41756519) or from People’s Science Institute (Tel: 0135-2763649)

With affectionate good wishes, Your own cultural conscience
(S/dG.D. Agrawal)


Sushil Kumar Jain said...

I support the cause highlighted by Dr.G D Agarwal.
I have an humble suggestion:-

All those who feel similar should contribute to ensure the timely publicity of the intiative by Dr.G D Agarwal in National & if possible in international Press & other media.
- Sushil Kumar Jain,Ghaziabad (INDIA)

aravindagrawal said...

Its very pity to see people comments like anything without knowing the fact related to water resource managment,hydrology, geological science etc. There is no such thing as minimum flow which can satisfy entire components of Bhagirathi river ecosystem or any other ecosystem. In fact words like habitat, holistic are only for argumentative purpose. Environmentalists do not give any figure that what should be the minimum flow. They take shelter of words like sustainable, comprehensive, integrated etc

When a project get clearance a well defined procedures are followed. In decision taking process geologist, hydrologist, environmnental science personnel, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and finance personnels etc are involved. All these persons are excellent in there field and come to ther service through most competitive exams. They can not be simply fool.

A environmentalist who sat on fast one fine day at the age of 80 and start telling the world that Bhagirathi runs dry. With timeframe every thing changes. There was a time when there was no Bhagirathi and Tethys sea was there. So many rivers in the geological time scale got extinguished and re-created. There are countless species which extinguished during transition of every geological era. Researcher have proofed that in egypt the Sphinx have suffered heavy water erosion,whereas water and rain were only present in Egypt during the distant past - 11,000 years ago. So,all disturbances are not necessarily due to man.

Climate change is a natural phenomena. Glaciers may melt and one fine day Bhagirathi river may run dry in spite of suspension of dam building activities in Bhagirathi, then what will G.D.Aggarwal do then ...if he is alive?

With the halting of projects, the projects envisaged for certain benefits will vanish. Environmentalists convince people that Bhagirathi is eternal and by just looking at it the people would get eternal happiness instead of economic upliftment. This is simply ridiculous and making us fool.

- A. K. Agrawal

Arvind said...

Raja... Thanks for forwarding this link to the team...

I am not an environmentalist but I disagree with Arvind Aggrawal... There can be two causes of change in ecosystem - created by nature itself and created by human beings... The later is not accepted espacially when you are not sure about the consequences and you have better alternatives...

Building step dams is a better alternative rather than big dams... these are cost effective, capable of generating electricity, maintainance is easy and there are no threats of lives (accidental - due to lack of maintainance or human mistake OR intentional - by terrorists) as in case of big dams. No doubt, each time a big dam is built, a lot of security is required... However, breaking these securities is not too difficult when there are terrorists groups having sucide attackers in their teams...

No doubt that everything in this world is volatile and will meet to the end at some point of the infinite time domain. This includes human being, our planet, our galaxy and the bigger systems, but we can not put our life in danger today just because we are about to die tomorrow. The science can save human race from environmental collapses on the earth i.e. climate change, super volcano, snowball earth, environmental radiations or from external threats but definately we should not invite the problems by ourselves by doing things which create unpredictable consequences. This is just to stay more on the earth though we know that there is an end to everything.

I stay firm with Prof. G.D.Agrawal and all my best wishes and support to him for the cause he is fighting for...

Arvind Tripathi
An alumnus of MGCGV

Gautam Thapliyal said...

I Agree to Both Prof. Agarwal and Mr. Arvind Agarwal.

Mr. Arvind is right in the sense, that government comprimising of Politicians and Bureaucrats don't sit and decide that there should be a dam at Harki Pauri, Haridwar. There is a Evnvironment Impact Assement by top IITian and Intellectuals of India and That also says that extreme impact would be change of Hydrology.

But here i wanna ask you all wise people. when we know that Glaciers all over the world are retreating due to climate change, and say after some 50 years Ganges would be a Monsoon fed river, so whats the point of hydrology change.
Will then Prof. Agarwal , write letter to Nature or Supreme power.

And when Lohar Nag scheme was already passed and 600 Crore were inveted on it, why you stopped it.
People are dying for chappati, and you are going on tapasya in a car.
200 crore will be wasted in its closure works.
Instead Prof. Agarwal, i myself would have joined you, if you would have taken this step when blue print of the scheme was being prepared.
That 1000 Crore would have been use to feed people, teach people to respect Ganga and don't through 3000 MLD of sweage water in Ganga.

Also, when after 50 years Ganga would be seasonal river and India would be facing acute water scarsity, i hope ground water recharged by the Dams, can help coming generations sir...

Lets don't think of our statemanship, think of future generations.

Long Live INDIA..
Jai Hind......

Dr. G. D. Agrawal Scientist and Rishi

Dr. G. D. Agrawal Scientist and Rishi

Meeting Dr. G. D. Agrawal in his spartan, two room cottage in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh, you would never guess what an accomplished and distinguished scientist he is – first Member-Secretary of the Government of India’s Central Pollution Control Board, former Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at IIT Kanpur and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. The list goes on and on.

Yet this eminent professional sweeps his own floors, washes his own clothes and cooks his own meals. He retains only a few possessions and dresses in homespun khadi. At the age of 76, his main mode of transport within Chitrakoot is a bicycle and when he travels further afield, he goes by ordinary bus and second-class train. These are the deliberate choices of a devout Hindu whose deepest values are for simplicity and reverence for nature. Dr G.D. Agrawal is the doyen of environmental engineering professionals in India. Well past retirement, he continues to teach and inspire students as an Honorary Professor of Environmental Sciences at the Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya, in Chitrakoot (M.P.).

Dr Agrawal is a much sought-after EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) consultant and a Director of Envirotech Instruments (P) Limited, New Delhi – a company that he established with some of his former students from IIT-Kanpur. He is an engineer’s engineer, the person senior professionals turn to for solutions to difficult technical problems. At CPCB he was instrumental in shaping India’s pollution control regulatory structure. He has been a member of various official committees for policy-making and administrative mechanisms to improve India’s environmental quality.

Dr Agrawal is a legendary and inspiring teacher whose students remember him with awe, admiration and affection. In 2002, his former students at IIT-Kanpur conferred on him the Best Teacher Award. He has guided scores of Masters and Doctoral students who are now leaders in the field of environmental engineering and science. Among his more prominent students was the late Anil Agrawal, the trail-blazing founder of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi.

Dr Agrawal has been deeply committed to supporting rural development initiatives grounded in scientific methodology. Among others, he has helped mentor well-known development activists like Dunu Roy (IIT-Bombay,’67) of The Hazards Centre, New Delhi, Dr Ravi Chopra (IIT-Bombay,’68) of People’s Science Institute, Dehra Doon and Rajendra Singh, a Magsaysay awardee and founder of Tarun Bharat Sangh.

Born in a farming family in Kandhla (Muzaffarnagar district, U.P.) in 1932, he did his schooling locally and graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Roorkee (now IIT-Roorkee).

He started his career as a Design Engineer in the Irrigation Department, Uttar Pradesh and later obtained a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He has dozens of scientific publications to his credit. Dr Agrawal is both deeply religious and rigorously scientific.

His passionate devotion to the River Ganga comes from his strong Hindu faith; his conviction that we are staring at an unprecedented ecological and cultural catastrophe comes from his powerfully logical mind. As a citizen and a patriot, he has made it his life’s mission to recall India to its glorious traditional reverence for nature and to share that wisdom with the “developed” world. His sense of his duty allows him to do no less.