‘Clean Ganga’ campaign kicked-off in Uttarakhand

April 5th, 2010 - 12:14 am ICT by IANS  

Rishikesh (Uttarakhand), April 4 (IANS) Taking a pledge to cleanse the Ganga river from its source in the Himalayas and along its journey to the Bay of Bengal, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank got some popular celebrities to kick off his new “Sparsh Ganga” campaign here Sunday.
While declaring Bollywood actors Hema Malini and Vivek Oberoi as “brand ambassadors” for the campaign, Nishank also sought support of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama as well as popular yoga guru Swami Ramdev, both who were present at the ceremony on the Ganga banks at Parmarth Niketan here.

The chief minister also invited Christian priest Father Dominique as well as Swami Agnivesh.

Former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani too joined in along with other prominent BJP leaders including Pokhriyal’s predecessor, Maj.Gen. (retd) B.C. Khanduri.

The name “Sparsh Ganga” was coined by Nishank himself, whose book with the same title was released by Advani at the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Advani gave a call for shunning plastic all along the route of the Ganga river. “It is high time that the laws against dumping of plastic and chemicals or industrial effluents were enforced sternly along the Ganga, that is a source of life for all of us.”

Nishank also emphasised the need for undertaking plantations all along the banks of the Ganga.

“This campaign for cleaning of the Ganga will not remain confined to the official machinery, but will also seek involvement of common people living all along the river.”

He propose to seek participation of different states in making the campaign a success. “As a part of this endeavour, we also propose to invite all other state governments to adopt certain areas for undertaking plantation of trees in the upper reaches of the Himalayan state including Badrinath,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, the Dalai Lama expressed deep concern over the depleting Gangotri glacier - the course of the Ganga river.

“Unless we get down with sincere commitment and dedication to protect our environment, we are going to face difficult times ahead and water crisis is going to be one of these major problems,” he pointed out.

Swami Agnivesh described the Ganga as a “symbol of the earth’s environment”, while Parmarth Niketan chief Swami Chidanand Muni termed it as “not just a river but a national heritage.”

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