Pro-dam Uttarakhand minister breaks fast in Delhi

July 10th, 2012 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Uttarakhand’s Drinking Water and Education Minister Mantri Prasad Naithani observed a day-long fast in the national capital Tuesday demanding resumption of work on the stalled Srinagar hydel power project in the state.

Mantri began his fast at 10 a.m. at Jantar Mantar and was joined by hundreds of supporters. The fast ended in the evening following an assurance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he would “soon discuss the issue” with Naithani.

“It was supposed to be a fast-unto-death but now that the PM (prime minister) has assured that he will soon discuss the issue with me, I’ve decided to call off the agitation,” Naithani told IANS.

The minister broke his fast at around 5.30 p.m. amidst cheers from the crowd holding pro-dam placards and banners as they raised slogans supporting the minister.

Naithani said the 330-MW hydel power project was 90 percent complete and Rs.3,500 crore had been pumped in the project. He said the union government need not bow down to some anti-development protesters.

“I know the government in the centre is acting neutral but it should not bow down to these pseudo-environmentalists and some religious leaders who are against development and don’t want Uttarakhand to prosper,” he said.

“Power generation will make us self-sufficient. It is the backbone of not only a state but the whole country,” he said.

Naithani said the anti-damn activists had claimed that an earthquake would destroy the dam.

“However, Delhi lies in the high-risk seismic zone but it still has the metro. So, these arguments are frivolous,” he said.

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