Rajendra Singh threatens to stop Ganga Expressway

November 17th, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Nov 17 (IANS) Accusing the Uttar Pradesh government of plotting to acquire land from farmers for industrialists, Magsaysay awardee and environmentalist Rajendra Singh Monday said he and other activists will not allow Chief Minister Mayawati to go ahead with the ambitious Ganga Expressway project.”We will not allow the government to set up the Ganga Expressway at any cost. It is an open challenge from our side,” Singh told reporters.

Popularly known as ‘waterman’ for his work on water resources, Singh was here to attend a programme on the Save Ganga Campaign organised by various NGOs.

“We will follow the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi and will launch a campaign similar to Satyagraha for our struggle.

“In the name of development, the government is forcibly acquiring land of farmers to transfer it to industrialists for vested interests.”

The state cabinet in January approved the Rs.40,000-crore (Rs.400 billion), 1,047-km long Ganga Expressway, which would link Noida to Ballia, passing through 19 districts along the banks of the river. Infrastructure giants Jaiprakash Associates have bagged the contract for the project.

Expressing concern over the environmental feasibility of the Expressway, Singh said: “The industrial units that are proposed to come up parallel to the Expressway would pose danger for the revered river as there will be a continuous threat of affluents being released into the river.”

Singh also attacked the central government of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for delay in granting the national status to the Ganga - announced this month.

“The move could have come much earlier. Had it been so, the picture would have been altogether different.”

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