80-year-old green activist continues indefinite fast from AIIMS (Lead)March 19th, 2012 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Noted environmentalist G.D. Agarwal, who — despite his advancing years — has been on a fast-unto-death since Jan 15 to save the Ganga river, is determined to continue his fast though physically worn out. He has been shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he is continuing his fast, his supporters said Monday.
Agarwal, 80, former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) professor, was shifted to AIIMS in an air ambulance from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, after his condition deteriorated.
According to doctors, he has been kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) and a team of doctor is monitoring his condition.
Tarun Agarwal, G.D. Agarwal’s nephew who is accompanying him, said he is physically week but mentally very tough and is determined to continue his fast.
“He won’t break his fast till his demands are accepted. He is given drips but he is not eating anything. He is firm to continue his fast from the hospital,” Tarun told IANS.
Agarwal has served as a secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board, the country’s premier anti-pollution body, and helped put together environmental legislation in India. This is his third fast-unto-death in last four years.
His major concern includes unsatisfactory and ineffective functioning of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), a central government constituted body for cleaning Ganga.
Besides, Agarwal is against ongoing construction of dams/barrages/tunnels on Ganga which would totally destroy the natural flow regimes and quality of the river water, total failure of regulatory agencies in controlling discharge of urban and industrial wastes into the Ganga and complete lack of sensitivity of the government on these issues.
“He stopped taking water from March 9 and his condition deteriorated. It is a matter of great concern but the government remains totally unmoved,” Magsaysay awardee Rajendra Singh told IANS.
Rajendra Singh resigned as the chairman NGRBA last week over “government’s insensitivity towards Agarwal and gross negligence towards worsening state of the holy river”.
Two other members of the NGRBA have also resigned over the issue. “We haven’t heard anything from the government since we sent our resignation,” said Singh.
Agarwal got support from anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, who met him at the AIIMS with Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia.
“Government is responsible for his condition. He has been demanding for long that Ganga river be cleaned but government has not done anything,” said Hazare.
“How can our government become so insensitive and allow such a senior scientists to die. This is his third fast in last four years. Central government has gone back on all promises made to him during last fast,” he said.
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Tags: air ambulance, all india institute of medical sciences, central government, central pollution control board, construction of dams, environmentalist, flow regimes, ganga river, india institute, indian institute of technology, industrial wastes, intensive care unit, natural flow, ongoing construction, pollution control board, rajendra singh, regulatory agencies, river basin authority, river water, varanasi