Union Minister assures VHP leader to protect Holy River Ganga

via VHP published on December 10, 2009

The International President of the Vishva Hindu Parishad [VHP], Shri Ashok Singhal and the Janata Party President & former Union Cabinet Minister, Dr. Subramanian Swamy together met the Union Environment and Forests Minister Dr. Jairam Ramesh last evening for 45 minutes to discuss the state of the holy river Ganga.

Shri Singhal at the outset made it clear that the VHP and all the recognized Hindu religious leaders are resolutely opposed to the destruction of the Holy Ganga that is happening due to ill-conceived power generation projects of the Centre in construction at several places along the river from Gangotri to Haridwar.

These projects will tunnel out the Ganga river from its traditional path from its source to Haridwar and render the river bed dry and bereft of what is today the purest Ganga jal flow.

Shri Singhal warned that if the Union Government failed to devise reasonable alternative projects in place of the present hydel projects to generate electricity for the hill people of Uttarakhand, the Hindu Sants and other leaders will decide at the coming Maha Kumbh Mela to launch a nation-wide “do or die” mass agitation. He suggested alternative projects which are more cost-effective and environment-friendly such as bio-gas projects, nuclear reactors, solar energy, wind power, etc.

Dr. Jairam Ramesh told the two visiting leaders that following the receipt of letters from them last October, the Prime Minister as chairman of the National Ganga River Authority had in the last meeting on October 5th directed a stay of all the hydel projects under construction and asked for a review by a high powered committee. That Review Report has now been received by the Authority and is being studied for action to be taken.

He said as far as scrapping the projects in favour of other alternative ways of generating electricity is concerned, he said it required further study which is being contemplated as to what is to be done about the construction already carried out and what dangers to environment would be posed if the structures already in place are simply abandoned.

Dr. Ramesh added that as an Indian he would not like India to be transformed from a civilization of rivers to a nation of tunnels, and hence he would seek a harmonization of our spiritual traditions and imperatives of economic development.

Hence, he urged the two leaders to wait till January end when a formal decision would be taken on how to proceed further. Till then all the existing projects under construction will remain stayed.

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