Ganga activist G D Agrawal ends fast

New Delhi: Environment scientist-activist G D Agrawal today broke his fast after the government promised to convene the meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-led National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) next month.

Agrawal, who was on a fast-unto-death since March 8 to press for cleaning of Ganga, decided to take water and liquid food after he was informed about the government`s decision to convene the meeting of NGRBA on April 17 by Union ministers Sriprakash Jaiswal and V Narayanasamy.

"I will keep taking liquid but will not consume any solid food till any concrete work happens for cleaning of Ganga river," the 80-year-old activist told reporters here at AIIMS where he was admitted two days ago in a critical condition.

Demanding that the issue of Ganga should be put in the "priority list" of government, Agrawal said, "I am not in condition to wait too long. I would be happy if it happens before the Prayag Kumbh scheduled to take place in January, 2013."

Attacking the government`s slow approach in preserving the river, he said, "All river can not be placed in the same category with Ganga. Scientific studies have proven that Ganga water has several qualities. But government`s attitude can be ascertained as one minister increases the (rail) fare and the other reduces it."

The biggest problem faced by Ganga is that 90 per cent of its "blood" (water) is sucked by dams and other illegal activities taking place at its banks, Agrawal, who is also known as Swami Gyanswaroop Sanand, said.

Stating that the Prime Minister has taken a note of the Sanand`s fast, Jaiswal said, "A consensus emerged that the next meeting of NGRBA will take place in New Delhi on April 17 and a delegation of Ganga Seva Abhiyanam will be invited as special invitee there."

The agenda proposed by Ganga Seva Abhiyanam will be discussed in the NGRBA meeting and it shall be placed for discussion on priority, the minister said.