#India – 80-year-old former IIT professor- G D Agarwal on indefinite hunger strike again


 

Author(s): Soma Basu  , down to earth
Date:Jun 14, 2013

‘Despite repeated assurances of government, 18 proposed hydel projects on the Ganga and its tributaries have not been scrapped’

G D Agarwal has been on fast thrice earlierG D Agarwal has been on fast thrice earlierEnvironment engineer G D Agarwal has resumed his indefinite hunger strike in Matri Sadan Ashram in Haridwar to press his demand of scrapping all hydro projects on the Bhagirathi, Alaknanda and Mandakini river basins. He has gone on hunger strike thrice earlier to protest against the Loharinag Pala hydroelectric project in Uttatrakhand which was eventually scrapped by the government under public pressure.

The 80-year-old former IIT professor, who is now known as Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand, started his fast on Thursday to commemorate the death anniversary of Swami Nigamanand  on 13 June, 2011. The 32-year-old ascetic had fasted for four months to protest illegal sand mining and stone crushing along the Ganga near Haridwar; his associates alleged he was poisoned at the behest of powerful stone crusher lobby.

Swami Dayanand of Matri Sadan ashram said Agarwal resumed his fast because despite repeated assurances of the government, 18 proposed mini and major hydropower projects on the Ganga and its tributaries have not been scrapped.

“It is imperative to maintain the ecological flow of Ganga and its tributaries. Construction of so many hydropower projects is threatening the existence of Ganga that is a symbol of India’s faith and culture. At several places, debris from construction site of projects is dumped into the river,” he said.

Earlier in 2010, Agarwal had fasted for over a month protesting the construction of the 600 MW Loharinag Pala hydroelectric project in Uttarkashi. The project would have left a stretch of 125 km of Ganga between Gangotri and Uttarkashi dry. The project work was stalled in 2010. However, Uttarakhand chief minister, Vijay Bahuguna, have been supporting two major projects—Loharinag Pala and the 480 MW Pala Maneri on the stretch of Bhagirathi between Uttarkashi and Gangotri.

 

#RIP- Mahant Veer Bhadra Mishra, Sankat Mochan Mandir Kashi-Benaras


 

A deeply spiritual man, who has ensured Benaras-Kashi remained peaceful and calm after the ghastly attack on the Sankat Mochan Mandir(7.3.2006), Mahant Veer Bhadra Mishra passed away yesterday
Deeply Committed to India s syncretic ethos, opposing the politics of division and the demolition of the Babri Masjid Mahantji s dream of a clean Ganga Mata remains a distant dream

We deeply mourn his loss

He had been part of CJP-MSD s meeting in Mumbai on 27.7.2006 after the ghastly train bombings in Mumbai appealing for peace and cal, emphasising that no Faith sanctions Terror and Violence

 

 

 

Professor Veer Bhadra Mishra was an engineer and Hindu priest who has dedicated his life to clean up his beloved River Ganges. “I am a part of Ganga and Ganga is a part of me,” he used to say. “I want not a single drop of sewage going into the river.” Besides an activist campaign that has educated millions about problems facing rivers around the world. Mishra, a former professor of hydraulics, has launched practical projects. One of these now provides clean drinking water through new wells to six neighboring villages whose residents were getting sick on Ganges water. He was also working hard with University of California scientists on plans for an alternative technology system. It is powered by gravity rather than electrical power, uses bacteria and algae to eliminate pollutants, and not only purifies river water but can be used to irrigate farmland and grow fish. In 1999 Dr. Mishra was nominated by Time Magazine as “hero of the planet” for bringing the plight of the Ganga to the world’s attention, inspiring other “riverkeepers” around the world.

CJP

 

#India-Ganga is now a deadly source of cancer,#study


Anirban Ghosh | Oct 17, 2012, 12.52AM IST

 
KOLKATA: The holy Ganga is a poison river today. It’s so full of killer pollutants that those living along its banks in Uttar PradeshBiharand Bengal are more prone to cancer than anywhere else in the country, says a recent study.

Conducted by the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP) under the Indian Council of Medical Research, the national study throws up shocking findings. The river is thick with heavy metals and lethal chemicals that causecancer, it says.

“We know that the incidence of cancer was highest in the country in areas drained by the Ganga. We also know why. Now, we are going deeper into the problem. Hopefully, we’ll be able to present a report to the Union health ministry in a month or two,” NCRP head A Nandkumar said.

The worst-hit stretches are east Uttar Pradesh, the flood plains of Bengal and Bihar. Cancer of the gallbladder, kidneys, food pipe, prostate, liver, kidneys, urinary bladder and skin are common in these parts. These cases are far more common and frequently found here than elsewhere in the country, the study says.

Even more frightening is the finding that gallbladder cancer cases along the river course are the second highest in the world and prostate cancer highest in the country. The survey throws up more scary findings: Of every 10,000 people surveyed, 450 men and 1,000 women were gallbladder cancer patients. Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar’s Vaishali and rural Patna and the extensive tract between Murshidabad and South 24-Parganas in West Bengal are the hot zones. In these parts, of every 1 lakh people surveyed, 20-25 were cancer patients. This is a national high. Relentless discharge of pollutants into the riverbed is responsible.

“This is the consequence of years of abuse. Over years, industries along the river have been releasing harmful effluents into the river. The process of disposing of waste has been arbitrary and unscientific. The river and those living along its banks are paying a price for this indiscretion,” Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute director Jaideep Biswas said. The Kolkata-based cancer institute is an associate of the National Cancer Registry Programme.

Biswas, a senior oncologist, said Ganga water is now laced with toxic industrial discharge such as arsenic, choride, fluoride and other heavy metals. Dipankar Chakarabarty, director, Jadavpur University School of Environmental Studies, concurs. “We’ve been extremely careless. Indiscriminate release of industrial effluents is to blame for this.”

“The arsenic that’s gets into the river doesn’t flow down. Iron and oxygen present in the water form ferroso ferric oxide, which in turn bonds with arsenic. This noxious mix settles on the riverbed. Lead and cadmium are equally heavy and naturally sink in the river. This killer then leeches back into the groundwater, making it poisonous,” Chakrabarty explains.

Surface water, Chakrabarty explains, is treated before use. But that’s clearly not the case with groundwater and it’s mostly consumed raw, often straight from source. The impact is devastating. “The consequences of using or drinking this poison can manifest earliest in two years and latest in 20. But by then, it’s way too late.” Those who’ve been bathing in this poison river are equally at danger, says Biswas. The need of the hour is to strictly implement laws regulating discharge of industrial waste into the river.

 

Cops arrive to probe kidnap, beat up villagers #chattisgarh


MAJHIPARA, SUKMA: The trail of horrors continues at Majhipara village, about 450 km from Chhattisgarh‘s capital, Raipur. On Monday, a team of CRPF and district policemen came to the village to investigate the abduction of the district collector and beat up several villagers, including women.

The police arrived when Ganga Kuram (25), a farmer, had just sat down to a frugal meal of rice. “They dragged me out of the house and hit me with a lathi,” he said.

Ganga and other men of the village fled their homes after Maoists abducted Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon and killed two of his security guards.

After hiding in the forest, Ganga returned home on Monday hoping the worst was over. But he was wrong. “We are caught between them (Maoists) and the police,” said another old man who refused to give his name.

Like Ganga, he too listened to Menon. But, they remained tightlipped about what happened on Saturday. “We heard gunshots and ran away, I didn’t see anything else,” said Ganga.

Other villagers echoed him. “Yes, some men came with guns. They killed two guards. But, how will I know who they are or where they came from?” said a middle-aged villager. Fearing retaliation, they even refused to say which way the Maoists walked away with Menon.

Asked, Sukma SP Abhishek Shandilya said, “Yes, a police team went to the village to probe Saturday’s incident. I have not heard about police beating villagers. Nobody has complained to us.” But the villagers volunteered every detail about being beaten up by the police on Monday.

There were rumours that a Maoist cadre was killed during Saturday’s attack. “Later, it turned out to be untrue,” said the old man. The police team had come to cross-check the rumour.

Kuram Deva’s left arm was swollen after he and his neighbour, Kuram Irma, were beaten by cops. Markam Singhe was serving her husband, Kuram Khosa, the morning meal when the police team entered the village.

“They asked villagers to gather in one corner of the village. My husband had just eaten a morsel when the policemen dragged him out of our house. I ran after them asking where they were taking him. One cop struck him with a lathi and another pointed a gun at me,” said Singhe