Bring concrete prog to save Ganga or face protest: Activists
New Delhi: Accusing the Centre of neglecting the Ganga, activists here today threatened to hit the streets if the government does not come up with a concrete programme by May 20 to save the "dying river".
"So many protests have taken place over the issue before but little has come of it.
Ministers made promises but few were kept. To protest this we have decided to launch a mass campaign from Varnasi from May 21 if the government does not come up with a concrete programme by May 20," Magsaysay award-winner 'Waterman' Rajendra Singh said.
Addressing a press conference here announcing the proposed 'Ganga Ganga Mukti Sangram' along with Acharya Pramod Krisha, Singh accused the Centre of ignoring the plight of the river and raising the issue just to garner votes ahead of elections.
"Lakhs of people depend on Ganga for sustenance. It is sad that the government is doing little to save its life. Ganga is a sick mother and it is the duty of the government to find cure for her sickness," he said.
Singh had recently stepped down from the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) along with two others in protest against the government's "negligence" of the river.
NGRBA, constituted on February 20, 2009, aims at ensuring effective control of pollution and conservation of the river by adopting a river-basin approach for comprehensive planning and management.
"The NGRBA was set up to come up with ways and means to save the Ganga but the state of the holy river has only worsened. The Authority has met only twice or thrice since it was first formed...It exists only on record," Singh said.
The demands of the activists include setting up of a commission to look into the problems plaguing the the river and a Ganga river policy. "We need a system to separate Ganga river and the sewer. The banks of the Ganga can not be used for commercial purposes.
No encroachment, no mining. Halt to all ongoing dam projects," Singh said.
To a question if they would invite yoga guru Ramdev and Anna Hazare to take part in the campaign, Singh said, "The protest is open to anyone who feels for the cause."