Monday, August 3, 2009


Dr.G.D. Agrawal to Resume Fast-Unto-Death
Blames Governmental Deception 
You will recall that Dr. Agrawal called off his first fast on the 18th day, June 30, 2008 after the Government of Uttarakhand promised in writing to suspend work on the Bhairon Ghati (380 MW) and Pala-Maneri (480 MW) hydropower projects (HPPs) on the Bhagirathi river (See map in attachment “Saving River Ganga”) and the Government of India gave a written commitment “to ensure perennial environmental flows in all stretches of River Bhagirathi and to keep it alive.” Charging the Government of India with reneging on this solemn commitment Dr Agrawal resumed his fast-unto-death a second time on January 14, 2009. He broke this fast on the 38th day, February 20, 2008 when the GoI gave a written commitment to suspend all work on the Loharinag-Pala HPP with immediate effect.
Unfortunately, however, work on the Loharinag-Pala HPP, has been continuing in full swing in the last few months.  This is despite a judgement passed by the Nainital High Court on May 18, 2009 vacating an earlier stay on the GOI’s order of Feb 19th to stop work on the dam.  The Court’s suggestion that the GoI appoint a Committee of Experts within one month to review the issue of construction of dams on the Bhagirathi river and make its recommendations to the newly formed Ganga River Basin Authority in another two months has been totally ignored.  No Committee has been formed till now. The Government of Uttarakhand, on the other hand, has begun work on constructing a road for the Pala-Maneri dam.  Officials of the state run Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL) have recently claimed to have received a green signal from the Centre to go ahead with the construction of its two suspended dams.
It is a fairly common tactic of governments, to make reassuring promises to protesters in order to get them to give up their protests.  But as the media attention dissipates and the protests fade from public memory, they go back on their word. A similar breach of trust has compelled Dr. G.D. Agrawal to consider a fast-unto-death again to ensure that the river Bhagirathi flows in its natural form between Gangotri and Uttarkashi.   
The state and central governments are trying to tire out Dr. Agrawal and us, his supporters.  They intend to wear us out and build the dams.  If we are serious about ensuring that the Ganga flows in its natural form, in the only stretch that is still pristine, then we will have to show that our opposition to the proposed dams is untiring.  We do not oppose all hydropower projects.  But we do believe that hydropower generation must only be done in a manner that is safe and sustainable for society and the environment (See “Saving River Ganga”).  

1 comment:

THE ONE said...

No body can save holy ganges nor the great himalayan glacier.... Evolution and dooms day are a continuous process.. in every ten thousand year the ice age comes... so why people are bothering about that.. the glacier which is melting will come back one day again... people should bother to maintain peace world wide or they should protest against Nulcear warheads which can evoperate human species in a go....
so stop doing politics on Ganga Bachao... Everybody want to be just famous after involving in this... Question should be asked to these activist that what happened to Narmada bachao and Tehri bachao abhiyan.... Project was made finally.. and where are those activist... they got good bunglows,money and lots of international awards...
Who suffered???... The common man.. billions of public money got wasted in delays... Do these activist and there family member agree to stop using electricity, or do they stop to travell in trains run through electricity... do they agree to make/operate school , better roads and hospitals in remote area of uttarachal/himachal/arunachal/assam. No... they would just like to enjoy civilaization in delhi,mumbai or state capital or like to run there so called ashrams for foreign nationalist. These activist just want to prevent development in remote areas.
Vinod Kotiya
NTPC Limited

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.