Swami Nigamanand's guru starts Ganga fast
Dehradun, December 25, 2012: More than a year after the death of
following several days of fasting, Haridwar-based Matri Sadan has revived its campaign
demanding complete ban on mining and stone crushing along Ganga near the
holy city. While Matri Sadan founder Swami Shivanand (66) began his fast
on Sunday, one his disciples, Swami Purnanand (32), already on hunger
strike for the last 12 days, reportedly continued his fast inside the Roshanabad jail.
On Saturday, police lodged a case against him under section 309 (attempt
to suicide) and arrested him.
In 2011 before his death, Nigamanand, a disciple of Shivanand, was on
hunger strike for more than 100 days demanding complete ban on mining
and stone crushing along the river in Haridwar and adjoining areas.
"Purnanand is taking lemon and salt with water," said jail superintendent Mahendra Singh
Haridwar DM Sachin Kurve claimed that Purnanand was not on fast.
"He is not on fast inside the jail," he said. Shivanand said that he was on an indefinite fast against the
administration's move to break Purnanand's hunger strike. 'Save
Ganga' activist Swami Poornanand Saraswati, on a fast in Haridwar for the last
12 days, was on Saturday arrested after district authorities could not
persuade him to end his stir to protest quarrying and stone crushing in
the ecologically sensitive areas along the river. "Please don't term my agitation as
anashan. This is tapasya,?" he said, adding that the campaign against mining and stone crushing will continue
till his last breath. Shivanand said there was no mining and stone crushing along the river
prior to 1990. Source: indianexpress.com
UP govt to clean up river Ganga ahead of Maha Kumbh Mela
ALLAHABAD, December 21, 2012 (PTI): UP govt to clean up river Ganga ahead of
Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 Lucknow: In a
bid to make available clean and continuous flow of water in river Ganga
during the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad next month, the UP government
has issued directions for shutting down industrial units that discharge
pollutants in the river, officials said on Friday. Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Javed Usmani yesterday asked the concerned
district magistrates to constitute a committee for inspection of polluting industries and ensure that they are closed within three days,
an official spokesperson said here.
He also asked for ensuring that eight industrial units banned by the UP
pollution control board, including distilleries and leather units in different districts remain closed.
Uttarakhand government has also assured full co-operation in controlling
pollution, the spokesperson added. UP govt to clean up river Ganga ahead of Maha Kumbh Mela
The chief secretary has also directed for release of additional 2,500
cusecs of water in the Ganga between January 1, 2013 to February 28 and
1,500 cusecs of water between March 1 to March 7 for the good flow in
BHU extracts low-cost, efficient enzyme to clean Ganga
VARANASI, December 9, 2012: In contrast with the spending of crores of rupees in the name
of saving River Ganga, a low-budget and efficient solution towards reducing
pollution in the river is being formulated at the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development
(IESD), Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Notably, the researchers of the institute have successfully isolated and
purified an enzyme from rice seedlings, which can help remove toxic organic pollutants like dyes, phenols and other pollutants from the river.
According to Dr Kavita Shah, associate professor, IESD, who is also the
principal investigator of the project being conducted under the department of Science and Technology (DST), the enzyme called 'rice
peroxidase' is basically an antioxidant enzyme which has great potential in detoxification of sewage water and industrial effluents. Pollutants
like phenol and dyes can be removed from the water with the help of rice peroxidase with better results than any other enzyme.
While the enzyme is being tested and studied as a solution towards
removing harmful content from water bodies, Dr Kavita and her research
team have also successfully developed a novel biosensor using the same
enzyme. The biosensor can be used in the treatment of neurological problems related to altered levels of dopamine (Content of
urine, serum and cerebrospinal fluid). According to her, so far there is no biosensor
to detect levels of dopamine in patients suffering from schizophrenia,
Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases. It is also estimated that rice peroxidase enzyme has great potential in
biotechnology and diagnostic purposes and could prove helpful for low
cost clinical treatment as an antioxidant. According to Dr Kavita, rice peroxidase has application potential
similar and even better than that of horse radish peroxidase (HRP) which
is the only peroxidase being used commercially in the world. "HRP is obtained from horse radish, a plant often cultivated in Japan for it is
an important part of Japanese diet. HRP is used as an antioxidant in many ointments and clinical cosmetics, however, the plant is not very
popularly grown in India leading to expensive cost of the enzyme for clinical purposes.
On the other hand, rice peroxidase can be isolated from any variety of rice seedling and the wide availability of rice
seedlings in India will make it cost efficient," she informed. Further
explaining the feasibility of rice peroxidase, Kavita informed that the
enzyme is stable till 68 degree Celsius as compared to HRP which is stable only till 45 degrees Celsius. At the same time, rice peroxidase
has better tolerance and shelf life in few organic solvents. While the process of patenting the sensor and the enzyme is on, the
ambitious research work has brought Dr Kavita the Women Scientist Award 2011
granted by the Biotech Research Society India (BRSI) during its 9th international conference held in Patiala in November. Source: The Times of India
HC seeks state's view on banning polythene in districts along Ganga
Allahabad, December 05 2012: The Allahabad High Court has sought the state
government's response on the possibility of banning polythene in all the districts that are along
Ganga, to help reduce pollution in the river. The High Court had already
banned sale, production and use of polythene in Allahabad on October 19.
Hearing a PIL demanding improvement of civic and sanitary conditions in
Varanasi on Monday, a division bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Arun
Tandon asked the government counsel to seek instructions from the departments concerned and file a reply. The court said that the reply
may be submitted in connection with another PIL dealing with pollution
in Ganga. The same division bench is hearing the Ganga-related PIL, which will next come up for hearing on December 6.The court passed the order after petitioner Kautilya Society of
Varanasi, through its general secretary Vrinda Dar, submitted that polythene should be banned in all districts along Ganga river.-
IIT Kanpur, EBTC in tie-up to clean up Ganga
Kolkata, December , 2012: The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
(IITK) and European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) have entered into a partnership for
restoring the river Ganga. EBTC, an initiative co-funded by the European Union (EU), and
coordinated by Eurochambers, said on Saturday that it was organising the
“India Water Impact Summit” from December 3 to 5 in the Capital.
EBTC is aiming to bring in relevant technologies from EU research institutions and companies. EBTC’s
environment sector specialist Monish Verma said: “EBTC is working in the context of rivers in India and helping to improve the
technologies available for reducing industrial effluent flows into the river”.
The Ganga river basin is regarded as one of the most polluted in the
world. It is estimated that over 12 billion litres of sewage and 4 billion litres of industrial effluent are generated in the river basin
every day. Less than one-third of these are treated before they are discharged into
the river. In addition to this load, it is estimated that around 52,000 tonnes of solid waste gets generated in this basin.
Dwaraka Shankaracharya demands law to preserve Ganga
November 25, 2012 (PTI): Expressing dismay over the Union Government?s failure to keep its
promise to initiate measures to check pollution and to ensure uninterrupted flow of water in river
Ganga, Shankracharya of Dwaraka peeth Swami Swarupanand Sarswati today demanded a law be framed to preserve the 'National River'.
A law should be framed to preserve the river Ganga and it should have a
stringent provision to penalize whoever was responsible to pollute it,
he told a press conference here. Seven pro-Ganges activists including two women had observed an
indefinite fast in support of the demands for immediate steps to check
pollution in the river and uninterrupted flow of water, he said. Keeping in view the deteriorating health condition of the hunger
strikers, Swami Swarupanand said the Prime Minister had conveyed a message through Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal appealing to the
agitators to break their fast. However, the stipulated timeframe has already been expired but no action
was initiated as yet, he said.
Swami Swarupanand demanded that the government should initiate urgent
steps to check release of industrial and chemical waste in the river,
release of adequate water in the river and diversion of sewerage systems. - PTI
Stampede during Chhath
in Patna at Ganga ghat; 17 killed
Patna, November 20, 2012: Chhath festival celebrations in Bihar’s capital Patna turned
tragic on Monday as a stampede broke out around sunset at Ganga Adalatganj
ghat and led to at least 17 deaths, including of children and women.
Many others were injured in the incident, police said. Hindu devotees crowded the banks of the River
Ganges during the Chhath festival in Patna, Monday. According to local officials, the incident happened when people were
coming back after offering prayers at the ghat. A police official said the stampede occurred after a
temporary bridge made of bamboo collapsed due to heavy rush of people, mainly devotees
and their family members. "Between the river bank and the main course, there is a shallow stretch
of dirty water, which is unfit for 'Chhath' rituals, said an official.
However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the deaths took place not
because of the cave-in, but due to people rushing out of the steep stairs a temple.
Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry into the incident and investigations have begun.
The CM also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of those killed.
Hundreds of angry people, mostly relatives of the victims, protested
against the government and shouted slogans against the Chief Minister
and local administration at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), where all the bodies were brought for post mortem and the
injured were admitted for treatment. Source: Agencies
Bio-remediation to be used for checking pollution during Kumbh
Allahabad, November 14, 2012:
Bio-remediation, a technology that is still in the initial testing`phase, is likely to be a significant
component for preventing untreated sewerage from flowing into River Ganga during Kumbh-2013.
Bio-remediation technology uses naturally existing microbes in nature to
treat the sewerage, breaking it down into carbon dioxide and water, besides lessening the odour. The authorities concerned are banking on
bio-remediation technology for treating sewerage, even as they claim
that the work of sewerage treatment plants (STPs) will be completed before
Kumbh. However, the mela administration has been saying that STP projects were
part of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). "We cannot be held responsible for STPs. We will be using bio-remediation
technology to ensure that Ganga water remains clean, as far as possible," said an officer of the mela administration. Following a couple of experiments that gave encouraging results, the
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, had last year decided to take up pilot projects
on bio-remediation measures at several points in Ganga, as they are seen
as simple and cost-effective method to treat sewage. The pilot projects
were to help in standardising the norms and framing guidelines for its use.
One such project was awarded to a private company, at a cost of Rs 1.38
crore and was to be completed in 16 months, at Mori Gate drain here in
Allahabad. But it is yet to take off. In-charge of CPCB?s Lucknow office
M Q Ansari said: "The project has been awarded and some pre-requisites are yet to be completed." Source: The Indian Express
5,000 clean toilets to come up along Ganga basin
Rishikesh, November 05,
2012 (IANS): Around 5,000 zero waste, "bio-digester" toilets will soon be coming up
in villages along the 2,500-km stretch of the Ganga basin, a religious
leader associated with the project said here. The project has been undertaken by the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) under the
leadership of Swami Chidanand Saraswati. A Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) was Saturday signed between the GAP, Federation of Indian Chambers
of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation
(DRDO), the designer of the toilets."Most of the people living in the Ganga river basin have no sanitary
facilities. They are forced to use the Ganga as a toilet out of necessity, fouling her waters and potentially spreading disease," said
Swami Chidanand Saraswati, president of Parmarth Niketan Ashram,
Rishikesh, and founder of the GAP. The first bio-digester toilet was inaugurated at the 'ashram' Oct 15 by
Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi.
Suitable for sub-zero temperature of Himalayan region or railway
coaches, buses and highways, the toilets recycle human waste. They can
provide fertilisers for crops, water for irrigation and methane gas to
power villages. They are also 100 percent maintenance free and economically viable.
Apart from the bio-digester toilets, Swami Chidanand announced that he
would work towards planting of trees to arrest deforestation and encouraging eco-crematoriums. He will be
working with experts to find sustainable solutions to effectively manage solid waste in and around Ganga.
Providing water to all villagers in the Ganga basin, cleaning the tracks
of the Indian railway network and installing bio- digester toilets on
trains, protecting and preserving the natural habitat of tigers and other wild animals are some of the other priorities of Parmarth Niketan Ashram.
Several prominent seers and spiritual leaders from all faiths gathered
at the banks of the Ganga Saturday to participate in the inter-faith
congregation for environmental preservation. They discussed the crucial role that religious and spiritual leaders
need to play in protecting and preserving the environment.
Religious heads to discuss bill on Ganga
VARANASI, November 3, 2012: The Ganga Mahasabha has come up with a draft,
proposing enactment of National River Ganga (Conservation and Management)
Act- 2012. The bill drafting committee head by Justice (Retd) Giridhar Malviya prepared a 14-page draft.
"The Ganga Mahasabha is going to hold a meeting of religious leaders of
different faiths to discuss the drafted bill at NDMC convention hall
near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on November 21, 2012" said Acharya
Jitendra, general secretary of Ganga Mahasabha. This organisation is committed for
clean and unobstructed flow of Ganga. The letters and copies of the drafted bill are being sent to the
religious leaders across the country, including Shankaracharya. After
discussion, the draft will be submitted to the Central government to get
it passed by the Parliament, he said. "Though Ganga has been classified as the national river but it is yet to
get the constitutional status. For this, there is a need of enactment of
law by parliament," said Acharya, adding that taking an initiative in
this regard, Ganga Mahasabha prepared the draft of the proposed Act with
the help of noted persons from judiciary, environmentalists and scientists.
Justice (Retd) Malviya is the chairman of the bill drafting committee
while other members are Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (noted environmentalist GD
Agrawal), Justice (Retd) SS Kulshrestha, MC Mehta, lawyer, Supreme Court, Paritosh
Tyagi, former chairman, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Arun Kumar Gupta, lawyer, High Court,
Allahabad, Santosh Kumar, lawyer, Supreme Court and Govind Sharma, general secretary, Ganga
Mahasabha. The draft specifies that the very special features and unique status of
the sacred Ganga in the culture and daily lives is recognised and river
is at the very foundation and core of civilization. It is the best internationally known identity of Indian nation. Recognising the special
place, the Union of India had designated Ganga as the national river and
constituted National Ganga River Basin Authority for certain aspects of
its management, under the Environmental Protection Act-1986. The instruments and arrangements made for this purpose have not proved
adequate to render Ganga the special consideration as a national symbol,
unique entity and cultural heritage, in the face of pressures from growing populations as also aspirations for economic, industrial, urban
and other developments. Source: Times of India
Heavy metals pollute Ganga midstream: Study
VARANASI, October 30, 2012: The Ganga river continues to get polluted with each passing day with all forms of pollutants like
municipal sewage, industrial effluents and heavy metals of carcinogenic nature.
Industrial effluents containing chemicals and heavy metals are also being discharged into
Ganga, said BD Tripathi, environment scientist of
Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and member of National Ganga River Basin Authority
(NGRBA). Tripathi has also developed a technology called 'bio-filtration of heavy
metals for the removal of heavy metals from wastewater. Its basic principle is that aquatic
plants such as eichhornia crassipes, pistia stratiotes, lemna minor, azolla pinnata and spirodela polyrhiza are used
in different combinations to remove heavy metals.
Tripathi claims that over 95% removal of chromium (Cr), cadmium
(Cd), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe) and Nickel (Ni) have been demonstrated
through this technology. Other scientists of BHU also confirm contamination of Ganga by heavy metals.They attempted to investigate the relationship between the concentration
of heavy metals midstream and input through atmospheric deposition at Varanasi.The study revealed that the midstream water of Ganga is invariably
contaminated by heavy metals. Highest concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni and Pb were recorded during winter and that of Zn during summer. The
concentration of all the heavy metals was high at downstream sampling stations. These observations suggest that use of such water for drinking may lead
to potential health risk in the long run. Heavy metals are known to have serious health implications like carcinogenesis induced tumor promotion.
The results of the study indicates that Ganga at Varanasi receives
sizably high atmospheric inputs of Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn. The study suggests that the aerial catchment can sizably contribute to surface
water contamination of potentially toxic metals. The main sources of these elements into the atmosphere are urban
industrial emissions in adjoining areas. Vehicular emission is believed
to be the main contributor to urban particulates. Source: Times of India
Idols' immersion adds to Ganga's pollution
PATNA, October 26, 2012: The Ganga, which is already highly polluted due to discharge of human and industrial waste into it over the years, stood a little more
polluted after Durga Puja due to immersion of a large number of idols in the city. It is estimated that over 5,000
litres of paint and hundreds of kg of plaster of Paris and toxic synthetic materials were immersed in the river along with the idols, causing further damage to the holy river.
Hundreds of idols have already been immersed in the Ganga river, and the
remaining ones are to be immersed in the next two to three days. According to an estimate, at least 1,000 idols of Durga weighing about
40,000 kg would be immersed in the river this year in and around the city. "Till a few decades back, idols were made of clay and decorated
with vegetable colours and other biodegradable material. Now idols are
made of plaster of Paris, synthetic colours and decorated with non-biodegradable material that are not at all friendly to the river,"
said environmentalist Mehta Nagendra Singh. Studies conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board show that idol
immersion during festive occasions like Durga Puja is putting "significant stress" (pollution) on rivers, lakes and local ponds.
Plaster of Paris does not get dissolved or disintegrated fast. Moreover,
the chemical dyes and colours being used to colour the idols contain poisonous elements. Particularly, red, blue, orange and green colours
contain mercury, zinc oxide, chromium and lead, the potential causes of developing cancer. The studies further indicated that plaster of Paris contains gypsum,
sulphur, phosphorus and magnesium. Chemical paints contain mercury, cadmium, lead and carbon. Immersion of these idols poison the waters of
lakes, rivers and the sea by increasing acidity and the content of heavy metals. "Such pollution damages the ecosystem because it kills fishes,
damages plants, blocks the natural flow of the water, causing stagnation. It damages health of human beings also by polluting drinking
water sources, causing breathing problems, blood and skin diseases," said the scientists. Source: Times of India
Gandhi inspires green Ganga mission
Lucknow, October 19, 2012: What Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 1909 during his sea
journey to South Africa would be an inspiration for the volunteers who have embarked upon
Mission ‘Green Ganga’. Analysis of development models in his book ‘Hind Swaraj’ and awareness about the science of river and water would mark the
Bharatiya Sanskriti Vigyan Jagrukta Yatra beginning on November 1.The 10-day-long journey along the Ganga
from Prayag (Allahabad) to Kashi (Varanasi) would be initiated by organisations working for a
positive change in the society.
Rajavashishth Tripathi, one of the key organisers of the yatra and
president of the Science Awareness Society, said: “We have termed this historic yatra as Hind Swaraj ki Gangajal Yatra because of its focus on
the model of ‘Hind Swaraj’. We believe that the development model described in Gandhiji’s book could effectively solve the problem of
water pollution, which is so prevalent in water bodies of India.”
The yatra would encapsulate reading and analysis of the book Hind
Swaraj, workshops, awareness programmes, competitions, Ganga gram chaupal and a number of other initiatives aimed at sensitising people
about the science of water and river. As per the plan, a team of 21 experts including scientists, engineers, academicians and responsible
citizens would be a part of the boat yatra. The team would study the
vegetation, soil type and collect nearly 50 water samples along the course of the river.
Shyam Dhar Tewari, founder of Satyamev Jayate (another organisation part
of the initiative), said: “The aim is also to form a group of volunteers
who would work for the cause of rivers even after the yatra.” This would be done by making them understand the effects of water
pollution on aquatic and human life. Developing a scientific approach
among the students would also be the objective of the journey. Source:Hindustan Times
Ganga water can cause cancer: Study
New Delhi, October 17, 2012: The river Ganga, lifeline to millions of Indians and the
most holy river to Hindus, has become a source of carcinogens as well.
With pollutants being continuously dumped into the river, a study has
found that people living along its course are more susceptible to cancer than anywhere else in the country.
According to the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP), the river is
suffused with heavy metals and poisonous chemicals, especially along the
stretches in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. “Ganga water is now laced with toxic industrial
discharge such as arsenic, choride, fluoride and other heavy metals,” Jaideep Biswas,
director of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, an associate of the
National Cancer Registry Programme, was quoted saying to a leading newspaper. Gallbladder cancer cases in these areas are the second highest in the
world and prostate cancer highest in the country. The research revealed that of every 10,000 people surveyed, 450 men and
1,000 women were gallbladder cancer patients. Other forms of cancer were
also found among the people living along the river course, such as
kidney, oesophagus, liver, urinary bladder and skin cancer. “Those who've been bathing in this poison river are equally at danger,”
said Biswas. Source: Zeenews
'My Ganga, My Dolphin' campaign: 671 Gangetic river dolphins saved so far!
Lucknow, October 10, 2012 (DNA): *The UP forest department
(UPFD) is upbeat with the result of its first-ever dolphin census. Experts working on the ‘My Ganga, My
Dolphin’ campaign have counted as many as 671 Gangetic river dolphins
after covering about 2,800km on the Ganga and its tributaries. UPFD officials said that 18 NGOs were involved in the census carried out
by about 150 people on boats over the past three days with the active
participation of WWF-India. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav announced the
result of the census here on Sunday. An extensive action plan for dolphin conservation will now be chalked out on the basis of the project
“It’s definitely a great beginning,” gushes state principal chief
conservator of forest (wildlife) Rupak De, a renowned conservationist
himself. De designed and supervised the entire campaign. He said that
about 600 dolphins were estimated to be populating the Ganga way back in
2005 but no methodical census had ever been done. The fact that their
numbers have remained stable over the past seven years despite continued
attrition due to various reasons is encouraging, he said. The dolphin, which many might not know is blind, was declared the
national aquatic animal on October 5, 2009. The UPFD started its dolphin
census to mark its anniversary on Friday and completed it on Sunday.
Dolphins are highly intelligent and are a crucial indicator of the
river’s health. But their number has steadily declined due to killing by
fishermen, building of dams and canals, use of nylon nets in which they
get ensnared easily, pollution and habitat destruction. The dolphin is listed in schedule (I) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and categorised as ‘endangered’ by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature. But their tally has been
decreasing despite high levels of legal protection nationally and internationally.
Seers gearing to resume agitation on Ganga
JYOTESHWAR (NARSINGHPUR), October 7, 2012: Continued neglect of a polluted Ganga
threatens to whip up the saffron fury once again as seers gear up to
resume their fight for purging the holy river. Talking to the Times of India on Saturday, Jagadguru
Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Swaraswati, who had deferred the Ganga Seva Abhiyan
last June for three months after assurance from
Union coal minister Shriprakash Jaiswal, said "inaction on the front is highly disappointing, and if the issue has
been pushed on the backburner by political bosses the agitation will be resumed with renewed vigour". The Abhiyan,
launched in 2008 in Varanasi had gained high momentum after the Shankaracharya threw his weight behind it. His wish list announced
at Jantar Mantar on June 18, 2012 included among others, alternative power generating measures for
Uttarakhand to ensure that the character, sanctity and flow of Ganga
remained uninterrupted. Stating that the Union minister met him "as an emissary of the prime
minister with a promise to resolve the ticklish issue in next three months", the Shankaracharya said that the deadline has expired on
September 29. Convener of the Abhiyan, Swami Abhi Mukteshw ranand, said, he had paid him a visit
last Friday and sought guidance over the future course of action".
I have asked him to take a delegation to the prime
minister, president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. If there has been no progress in the matter, we will be left with no option but to
intensify the agitation, he added. "Jaiswal, during the meeting with the seer, had promised to honour all
our demands, claimed Abhi Muktananad. A highly surcharged Swaroopanand said that the seer's bid to purge and
free Ganga is a highly emotive issue for masses. "Uttarakhand for instance is going ahead with the hydro electric
generating plants only to boost its revenue. The extra money will only mean a fatter salary for government officers and a hike in MLA funds at
the cost of Ganga," he said, adding, "We will not allow that".The aged seer recuperating in his ashram has already given a call for
Dilli chalo (march) on November 25 "if the government plays deaf and mute."
Source: Times of India
Bihar observes Dolphin Day
Patna,October 05, 2012 (IANS) : Bihar observed Dolphin Day Friday to
raise awareness about conservation of the Ganga river dolphin declared
as India's national aquatic animal. "Dolphin Day is a step towards conserving the Ganga river dolphin and
would be observed every year on Oct 5," Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said at a workshop here.
"It is a part of the Wildlife Week being observed in Bihar (Oct 2-8),"
he added. On the conservation efforts initiated by the government, the Bihar deputy chief minister said a dolphin watch centre would come up along
the Ganga river in Patna, where dolphins are still sighted. The centre would serve as a tourist attraction besides raising awareness
about Ganga river dolphins. R.K. Sinha, chairperson of the working group for dolphin conservation
set up by the central government welcomed the initiative. "Dolphin Day will help spread the message of their conservation," Sinha said. "Several
programmes, including screening of films on dolphins, have been organised for youths and students," a forest official said.
Ganga dolphins are being killed at an alarming rate by poachers for
their flesh as well as oil, which is used as an ointment and aphrodisiac. Their carcasses are regularly found on the river's banks.
The mammal is covered under the Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and has been declared an endangered species by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). India's only sanctuary for the endangered species, the Vikramshila
Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, is in Bihar's Bhagalpur district, around 235
km from here. Earlier this year, a Ganga dolphin research centre, the first such
centre in the country, was set up in the Bihar capital. The Gangetic dolphin species - found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal - is
blind and finds its way and prey in the river waters through echoes.
Idols immersion add to Ganga pollution
KANPUR, October 2, 2012: In an alarming development, thousands of fish have died in the Ganga
here following pollution caused by the immersion of over 1,000 big and small Lord Ganesha idols in the
river during the past one week. Damage to the river's overall aquatic life and water quality is yet to be assessed. Once again, the river that
is worshipped by millions, has been defiled in the wake of religious traditions and rituals.
"In the name of performing the ritual of immersing the idols of 'Vighanharta' into the Ganga after the conclusion of Ganesh
Mahotsava, the prominent city ghats are now lying in filth. Rotten flowers, filth
and plastic bags that are spread all across the length and breadth of
the ghats, are speaking volumes about the efforts of Kanpur Nagar Nigam
in keeping the ghats clean. However, the KNN is not alone to be blamed
as the city denizens are equally responsible for polluting the holy river and its ghats," said a prominent citizen, R M
Agarwal. Adding to the filth in the river and the ghats are the remains of large
idols of Lord Ganesha that have been swept back to the ghats due to the
fast-moving river currents. The most affected are the Gola Ghat, Sarsiyya Ghat and Massacare Ghat from where the maximum number of Ganesh
idols were immersed into the river. The harmful chemical colours used in
decorating the idols have seen in a decline in the dissolved oxygen levels in the river water. The fact came to the fore in the form of a
large number of fishe that died in the river close to Gola and Sarsiyya ghats.
Though much hue and cry is raised every year before Ganesh Visarjan and
after Durga Puja festival, the issue, it seems, has been taken as publicity rather than a remedial measure. This becomes obvious as
neither the district administration nor those fighting for the cause of
the river have taken any initiative to check the practice.
Scheme to clean up Ganga remains inactive 26-years after implementation
September 23, 2012: The river has not seen any improvement in the past twenty-six years of
implementation of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP), initiated by the late
Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, a report on the health of the river
to be submitted to Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur soon, has revealed. The report will be subsequently shared between all 13
IITs. According to the study conducted by Dr Sandeep Kumar Behera, associate
director (river basins and biodiversity), WWF India, the state of Uttar
Pradesh alone contributes over 50 per cent of the pollutants entering
the river along its journey to the Bay of Bengal. The districts that contribute the most to the river's pollution include
Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kannauj and Farrukhabad in UP.
"Since 1986, there is not even 1 per cent improvement in the river's
condition despite spending millions under the GAP," Behera, a member of
the GAP, working on the river since 1989, said. "The policies were framed behind closed doors by the government and
corporate. Local communities were never involved in the process," Behera, who is also a member of the PM-headed National Ganga River Basin
Authority (NGRBA), said. The defilement of the river begins at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand when the
river enters the plains. In Kanpur, the water stinks even during monsoon when the river is flooded.
Over 50 drains, today, carry sewage to Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad as
against 13 drains that emptied into the river, before 1986. The coliform
count is exceedingly high in the river. The 84 bathing ghats are sandwiched between two tributaries - Assi and Varuna - which are now
huge sewage drains, the report accessed by Mail Today, stated. The IITs have been entrusted with the task of preparing the Ganga River
Basin Environmental Plan. Source: India Today
Demand for national heritage status to Ganga
Patna, September 15, 2012 (PTI): National heritage status for Ganga was demanded today by a body headed
by BJP leader Uma Bharti in view of the sanctity of the river. It is not enough to merely give national river status to the river which
should be given national heritage status, 'Ganga Samagra' member and BJP
leader Siddharth Nath Singh told reporters here. To create awareness among the people on cleanliness of the river, he
said the apolitical body would launch a campaign to press for the status
to the river at Gangasagar in West Bengal on September 21 which would
conclude at Gangotri (Uttarakhand) on October 28. Climate expert R K Pachauri, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Samajwadi
Party have extended their support to the 'Clean Ganga Campaign', he said
adding MPs of all political parties and environment experts would be
Muslim clerics join Hindu seers in campaign to save Ganga
Lucknow, September 02, 2012 (PTI): Muslim religious leaders have now come forward to extend a helping hand
to sadhus and seers who are campaigning for conservation of River Ganga. Maulana Saeedur Rehman, principal of Centre of Islamic studies, said
that it is well known that Ganga is associated with the faith of Hindus but
it is not any less important for Muslims. Terming the drive to clean the river as a "holy campaign",
Rehman said that he would not only extend support to it but would do whatever was
required in achieving it.
Member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Khalid Rashid
Firangimahli said that Ganga is a national river and it is not just the Hindus but also the Muslims who live on its banks and earn livelihood
through it so it is the duty of all to protect and save it. Pledging support in this campaign, Firangimahli also appealed to all
Muslims to contribute to achieve this goal and asked the central government to create a new
ministry for conservation of rivers and look for alternatives of bridges on the Ganga.
Convener of Ganga Mukti Sangram Acharya Pramod Krishnan said that he has
got assurance from various Muslim leaders during his meetings with them
here earlier this week on joining hands in the conservation work to involve the common man.
Noted Shia scholar Maulana Kalbe Jawwad supported the drive and said that he would join the saints and mahants in this task wherever required.
Citing National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), he said that oxygen and other vital contents
in the Ganga are getting destroyed gradually because of the seven bridges on the Ganga and there
is still a proposal of 39 more bridges on it. On one hand government funds are used on building bridges and on the
other thousands of crores of rupees are wasted in the name of save Ganga project, he said.
Shivanand Sarswati refuses to break fast
DEHRADUN, August 29, 2012: Matrisadan Ashram's founder in
Haridwar, Shivanand Sarswati (67),refused to break his fast-unto-death late on Monday as he seeks a fresh
CBI probe into the death of 32-year-old Swami Nigamananda, who was campaigning against illegal quarrying around the
Ganga river. The fasting saint also set a 15-day deadline for the fulfillment of his demands.
The saint entered the 23rd day of his indefinite fast on Tuesday. Sarswati has also sought the constitution of a separate medical board to
probe Nigamananda's death.
Sarswati had alleged Nigamananda was poisoned to death in May this year
at a Dehradun hospital at the behest of Haridwar's powerful stone-crusher lobby as he had opposed illegal quarrying in areas around
river Ganga and other ecologically-sensitive areas under Haridwar's Kumbh area.
The fasting saint, who has been only having lime water, agreed to eat honey for the next 15 days until his demands were met and threatened to
give up on consumption of water if his demands were not honoured. He agreed to consume honey after a PAC contingent along with police
officials entered the ashram on Monday night and threatened to forcefully air-lift him and force feed him.
Ashram seers accused local authorities of threatening the seer. Sarswati
accused the Uttarakhand government of using force to break his fast. "I
am determined to carry on my fast and will not be intimidated by the
government," said Sarswati. The UPA government had ordered a CBI probe into his death in May last
year. Sarswati had accused the CBI of fabricating its closure report
with a motive to shield the perpetrators of Nigamananda's death. He said
he had conclusive evidence to prove that Nigamananda was poisoned to
death. A CBI official had dismissed the allegations saying the case was
closed after a detailed visceral examination confirmed that he was not
poisoned to death. "A three-member team of Medical Officers are examining Sarswati
regularly to monitor his condition", said Matrisadan's spokesperson Dr
Vijay. Doctors described Sarswati's condition as normal, and his current weight is 38 kg. Source: Times of India
Bengal government organises Save Ganga campaign
KOLKATA, August 27, 2012: The Save Ganga campaign that the
state government had started on April this year culminated at millennium
park on Sunday. State urban development minister Firhad Hakim, along with other senior
officials of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority and the Kolkata municipal corporation walked along the river front stretch from
Princep Street to Millennium Park. In the afternoon, there were elocution contest, quiz, drama, dance drama and performance by a Bengali
music band, all based on the Save Ganga theme. Authorities of the Uttarpara and Khardah municipalities brought bus-loads of people to
receive prizes from the minister. Besides, spectators who were watching
the programmes were given calenders, mobile covers etc with the Save Ganga logo.
It was for a long time that the government was planning to have an
awareness programme on saving the river Ganga under the National Ganga
River Basin Project. The concept was planned last year in July and the plan was to continue
it till the book fair event takes place on January. The plan was to organise the campaign during the festival seasons to address the public.
However, the plan could not be implemented last year due to various administrative reasons.The state government is presently working on the river front
beautification project that was earlier launched by chief minister Mamata Banerjee .Source:
Times of India
Ganga Path Project stalled
Patna, August 21, 2012 (DHNS): The much-hyped 21.5 km-long Ganga Path project seems to have hit a
roadblock, as not a single bidder turned up in the state capital, thereby forcing the Bihar government to extend the date of request for
proposal, commonly called financial bid, till September 14.Touted as Mumbai's Marine Drive along the Ganga with four-lane wide
roads, the proposed expressway connecting Digha to Deedarganj is estimated to cost Rs 2,334.46 crore.
A brainchild of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the swanky corridor on
south of the riverside is supposed to not only ease traffic in Patna, but also reduce congestion on the National Highway as heavy vehicles
coming from the east and plying to Uttar Pradesh and other north Indian states need not venture into the capital area. But with six short-
listed infrastructure giants including Simplex, Welspun, Nagarjuna Construction and
Reliance Infrastructure, reporting no-show, the Bihar government has now decided to draw on the reserve
bids and keep out the short-listed bidders.The prestigious project,
taken up on public private partnership (PPP) mode, is coming up on 261
hectares (approx) on the banks of Ganga. Recently, the Nitish Cabinet gave its nod to transfer 230 hectares of government land to the Road
Construction Department, which is to be given to the concessionaire for the mega project. One of the preconditions of the PPP project was to
make 80 per cent of the land available to the concessionaire. The entire 21.5 km-long Ganga Path has been categorised into three zones
- Digha to Gandhi Maidan (5.9 km), Gandhi Maidan to Mahatma Gandhi Setu (7.6 km) and MG Setu to Deedarganj (8 km).
Ganga water contains pesticide residues: Government
New Delhi, August 14, 2012 (PTI): Groundwater in key Ganga river basin states of
Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has residues of different pesticides, the
government told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. Quoting a IIT-Delhi study, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation
Jairam Ramesh said the groundwater in Palla-Burari region near Delhi was
found to contain moderately high levels of pesticides - some of them residues of long-banned pesticides such as DDT.
In his written reply, Ramesh said the same team also conducted a larger
study on the entire Ganga basin covering Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the results showed that different organochloride pesticides
predominate in different regions depending upon land use pattern. "HCH, a bi-product of insecticide Lidane, was detected mostly in
mountainous stretch of Uttarakhand. The water in Uttar Pradesh contained
more of Endosulfan residues, while the Bihar region contained more of Aldrin group of pesticides," he said. He said testing of pesticides in water requires precision instrumentation like Gas
Chromatography-Mass Spectrophotometry (GC-MS), High Pressure Liquid Chromatography
(HLC) and also skilled manpower. To supplement the efforts of the state governments to provide safe
drinking water in the rural areas of the country, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation provides technical and financial
assistance under the centrally- sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), Ramesh said.
No new hydel projects on river Ganga to be allowed, says Jayanthi Natarajan
New Delhi, August 08, 2012: With cloud burst creating havoc in
Uttarakhand, the environment ministry has decided not to consider new hydel projects and review the existing
projects ones on river Ganga and its tributaries in the state. There has been a view that construction of dams for hydel projects on
tributaries of river Ganga such Asi Ganga has resulted in blocking the flow of water
thereby creating havoc for locals and property. Around 12 people died
and about 50 went missing after the cloud burst in higher reaches of the
state. Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan told HT it was difficult to
“envisage any new hydel project on river Ganga and its tributaries”
considering increasing concern over its flow. On the projects under implementation, the ministry will take a view
after a cumulative environment impact assessment of around 77 projects
on river Ganga and its tributaries is done. “We have to do a proper
appreciation of environmental aspects to restore flow and purity of the national river,” the minister.
The government has already constituted a committee of experts under
planning commission member B K Chaturvedi to examine impact of hydel
projects on river Ganga and recommend remedial measures based on report
of a consortium of Indian Institutes of Technology. The committee has
met once and deliberated on the key aspects of Ganga for future deliberations.
“I don’t want to pre-judge work of that committee,” she said, “my person
view as Environment Minister is that there cannot be more hydel projects
on river Ganga”. The flash floods has come as a blessing in disguise to those opposing
hydel projects on river Ganga and has put the government on the back-foot. The government scientific experts attributed environmental
degradation including cutting of forests in Uttarakhand hills as a prime
reason for cloud burst having such an impact. The Central government has provided Rs. 200 crore to NTPC to restore the
Lohari Nag Pala sites to its original but the work has been going at a
slow pace. “I will be writing to Power Minister (Veerappa Moilly) on the
issue of the restoration work,” Natarajan said. Source: Hindustan Times
Hydel projects to continue on
Ganga, says IITs
New Delhi, August 06, 2012: Big hydel projects on river Ganga will continue despite opposition by
Hindu religious groups and Save Ganga project will require Rs. 1,00,000
crore public investment, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have said.
A consortium of seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and
three other leading universities in India has told the goverment that
Ganga cannot be saved by just closing down existing and upcoming hydel projects.
"Environmental flows, as determined through analysis of gelogical, ecological, socio-economic and cultural functions of the river systems,
shall be maintained in all tributaries and the main stems of the Ganga
river irrespective of season and circumstances," Professor Vinod Tare of
IIT Kanpur said in a presentation on the new approach to save Ganga to the government last week.
Tare is the coordinator of the project to prepare environment management
plan for Ganga river Basin and his presentation is in wake of protests
led by BJP's Uma Bharati and former IIT Kanpur professor GD Aggarwal
against hydel projects on Ganga and its tributaries. The environment
ministry has already set up a committee under B K Chaturvedi to allow
projects without hampering environmental flow of the river for which IITs are providing crucual inputs.
To maintain the flows, the IITs have said 11 policy level interventions
including regulation for minimum flow of water from hydel projects and
their constructon were required. "It required a sound water resource
management," Tare said. The premier institutes have also said that there
was a need of a policy for policy framework for sustanaible use of water, restoration of existing water bodies and soil conservation.
But, the IITs believe that these policies will fall apart if there isn't
an overarching law Ganga River Basin Act to ensure long term
implementation of basin environment management plan. "We are already
working on a new law for Ganga," said a senior environment ministry official.
Under the new management plan, the IITs have suggested to divide the
Ganga river basin covering around 60 % of India's population -into nine clusters based on unique topography and enivronmental concerns.
The nine clusters include river Yamuna from Delhi till Etawah in Uttar
Pradesh and several of Ganga's tributaries from Uttarakhand to West Bengal such as
Ramganga, Kali and Mandakini, Chambal, Ken and Betwa. Implementing such a gigantic plan expected to cost additional
Rs. one lakh crore will not be easy without a coordinated efforts of the all the
state governments and stakeholders. It will also require enormous scientific work to gauge impacts on river Ganga which have been missing. Source: Hindustan Times
BJP seeks PM's help to save ancient Dhari Devi shrine
New Delhi, July 10, 2012: The BJP today seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in saving the
ancient Dhari Devi shrine, said to be facing threat of submergence due
to the Srinagar hydroelectric project. Led by BJP Parliamentary Board chairman LK Advani and president Nitin
Gadkari, the delegation urged the PM, who is also the chairman of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), that work on the project
be completed in a manner that the security and sanctity of the ancient temple does not get affected.
Uttarakhand's former CM Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank was later quoted as saying that the PM assured the delegation that the historic shrine
"will be protected and not be allowed to be submerged. The Srinagar dam will
also be made and Dhari Devi will also be saved". Nishank said that the PM also asked Environment Minister Jayanthi
Natarajan to look into the matter and get a fresh detailed project report
(DPR) prepared so that the Dhari Devi shrine is saved. The delegation, which included Leaders of Opposition in both Houses
Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, Uma Bharti, BC Khanduri and Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, also demanded that the state be given 2,000 MW of free power
from the Centre to cater to its needs as many hydel projects could not be built on the river and its tributaries.
However, the agitation against hydel projects led by environmental groups and sadhus is now threatening normalcy across the power-starved
state. Following reports that the Centre was contemplating closing down the 320
MW Srinagar project at Pithoragarh, which is almost 80 per cent complete, persons who were to benefit from the Srinagar hydel project
are taking to the streets in protest. Recently, the Congress-led Uttarakhand Government warned the Centre
against closing any more hydroelectric power projects in the state, threatening mass agitations if the step was repeated in the future under
"saintly advice". Source: Tribune India
Government sets up panel to review power projects on Ganga
NEW DELHI, June 26, 2012: The Prime Minister's Office has constituted an
inter-ministerial committee headed by Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi to review existing and ongoing hydroelectric projects on Ganga and its
tributaries. The committee has been tasked to submit its report in three months.
The panel will recommend the flow that should be maintained in the Ganga and its tributaries. It will also suggest how the existing power projects
should be altered to achieve the required flow keeping in mind the impact on tariffs. It will also review the environmental clearance
granted to existing and upcoming projects and suggest what changes needto be made to the conditions laid down for those who get the nod.
The committee includes representatives from the ministries of
environment, power, and water resources and other authorities and research institutions. From outside the government, the PMO has chosen director
general of Centre for Science and Environment Sunita Narain, former professor of IIT-BHU and mahant of Sankat Mochan temple at Varanasi
Virbhadra Mishra and head of Tarun Bharat Sangh Rajendra Singh.
The committee has been asked to take into view the existing reports of institutions like IIT Roorkee and Wildlife Institute of India and has
been empowered to call any government official or other experts for consultation as well.
The panel was set up after intense pressure from some Hindu religious
leaders and activists, including Rajendra Singh, demanding greater action by the government to maintain the flow and purity of the river.
The PMO held several parleys on the issue after the religious leaders
warned of upping the ante in the coming months. While the government also considered the possibility of upgrading the
existing National Ganga River Basin Authority to the level of an independent commission along the lines of the
National Human Rights Commission through a new law, that has been put on the backburner with the PMO keen to set up the committee under
Chaturvedi. Narain and Singh are also members of NGRBA, a meeting of which was last
called with activist G D Agarwal sitting on a hunger strike against government inaction. Source: Times of India
Shankaracharya’s ultimatum to Centre over Ganga
VARANASI, June 24, 2012: Shankaracharya of Jyotish and Dwarka Sharda Peeths Swami
Swaroopanand Saraswati give an ultimatum of three months to the Central
government over the issue of uninterrupted flow of Ganga. "Pahle Ganga ko bacha
lein, dharti bhi bach jayegi (first save the Ganga, which will save the earth)," said the seer while talking to reporters here on Saturday. The Shankaracharya, who attended the rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi
on June 18 on the issue of Ganga, was disappointed over the government's
apathetic attitude towards the protection and conservation of the National River. "The PM has no time for Ganga and UPA chairperson Sonia
Gandhi is also silent on this issue," said the seer. He made it clear that the movement
launched under the banner of Ganga Seva Abhiyanam was not inspired by
any political outfit or ideology. "This movement is for all who have faith in mother Ganga," he said.
He gave a call to Ganga lovers living across the nation to assemble at
New Delhi on November 25 to mount pressure on the Central government to
save the holy river from bondage and pollution. "We have not given a lease of time to the government, but we have taken time to strengthen
ourselves during this period to fight vigorously for the holy river," he
said. Demanding a separate empowered ministry dedicated to Ganga, he said that
the PM had declared Ganga as the National River, but now he had to take bold steps to ensure uninterrupted flow of the river.
"It was unfortunate that only two meetings of National Ganga River Basin
Authority (NGRBA) were held since then. The expert opinion was not heard in these
meetings but only financial issues were discussed," he lamented. Source: Times of India
Activists, seers descend in Delhi to save Ganga
New Delhi, June 18, 2012: Demanding strong measures from the government for a
pollution free river Ganga, activists along with Hindu seers on June 18, 2012 staged a
protest march from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at Rajghat to Jantar
Mantar. The activists crusading for getting Ganga cleaned demand ban on building
of dams across the river and want the government to take strong action
to restore purity of the river, which was ranked among the five most polluted rivers of the world in 2007.
However, rejecting their demands categorically, Uttarakhand Chief
Minister Vijay Bahuguna today announced that there will be no ban on
dams or power projects across the river. He also said that in case of
any interference, the Central government would have to compensate for the losses incurred.
Reacting angrily to Uttarakhand CM’s decision, the noted water
conservationist Rajendra Singh, who was protesting along with others at
Jantar Mantar, said, “It’s not his (Vijay Bahuguna’s) Ganga. Ganga is
the river of entire nation. It’s our Ganga and we will take care of its
purity and cleanliness.” Earlier Singh had threatened a nationwide campaign against the
Congress-led government for failing to implement the promises made by
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that all possible steps would be
taken to clean the river. He had said that the campaign would not end until the central government
immediately stalled the proposed building of 39 dams across River Ganga.
Magsaysay award-winner ‘Waterman', Rajendra Singh who had 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 was built in Feb 2009 and in spite of millions of rupees spent on
it, it failed to implement any reforms that could bring the sacred river
back to its pristine glory and the Ganga flows replete with pollution,
with fecal coliform levels in the river near Varanasi more than hundred
times the official Indian government limits. The agitation by Hindu seers for an 'aviral' Ganga could hit a higher
pitch ahead of the Mahakumbh in Allahabad in January. Source: Zeenews
Ganga Mukti Mahasangram
Delhi, June 12, 2012:In a meeting of Ganga Mukti Sangram Saamiti today, it was discussed that
river Ganga is equally important for people of all religions and it's the responsibility of all the people to join the movement to maintain
the serenity of Ganga, apart from relegion. 'Ganga Mukti Sangram' will be started under the guidance and leadership
of Swami Swarupanand along with the participation of priests of all religions. To initiate with the movement, Sankaracharya Kanchi Peeth Sri
Jayendra Saraswati and Puri Sankaracharya Sri Nischalanand will join hands and has decided to appeal people from other religions to join the movement.
Out of 11 groups participating in the movement, two groups have already reached Delhi and 9 groups are still to come. Thousands of Ganga
Devotees along with the 'Ganga Rath', will reach to Varanasi on 14th June and move to Allahabad, Kanpur, Matura, Vrindavan
and finally reach to Delhi on 17th June. The devotees have decided to gather at Delhi Rajghat in large numbers
today as discussed in the meeting. The movement is expected to be the largest among all the previous
movements held in this regard with a huge number of participation.
Save Ganga activist Aggarwal forcibly lifted, shifted to Delhi
DEHRADUN, May 2, 2012: Uttarakhand police on Friday evening forcibly lifted
79-year-old 'Save Ganga' crusader and activist GD Aggarwal from Lachmoli village near Kirti Nagar on Rishikesh-Badrinath Yatra route in Tehri
district and shifted him to AIIMS, New Delhi. Aggarwal who had secretly managed to reach Lachmoli village to stay at
the residence of his friend Bharat Jhunjhunwala on Wednesday, two days after his house arrest on the charge of breach of peace under section
151 CrPC, was forcibly lifted and shifted again to AIIMS. DIG (Pauri Range) GN Goswami told the TOI that Aggarwal was on his way
to go to Alaknanda valley to collect water samples of the Alaknanda river, a tributary of the Ganga to test the density of pollution at
different points it passes through including Srinagar, Rudrapryag and
Peepalkoti where the hydropower projects are being built across the river to generate power. Aggarwal had been put under house arrest at the
residence of Bharat Jhunjhunwala on Thursday (May 31) after pro-dam supporters strongly opposed his visit to Uttarakhand and threatened to
forcibly drive him out of the state if he was not arrested and evicted by the government.
The pro-dam activists led by the members of Uttarakhand Dam Sanghrash
Samiti and Janmorcha had held a protest demonstration against Aggarwal. Aggarwal who has been instrumental in scrapping several under-construction
and proposed hydropower projects across Bhagirathi and Alakanda rivers in past, was also going to review the 340
Meghwatt under-construction Srinagar hydropower projects across Alaknada.
Aggarwal told reporters that he was against the construction of Srinagar
hydropower project to save the Dhari Devi temple. He said that once the
construction of Srinagar hydropower project was completed, it would submerge Dhari Devi shrine. The temple is visited by lakkhs of devotees
from Uttarakhand and other parts of the country. District Magistrate(Tehri) Ranjeet Sinha told reporters that Aggarwal was forcibly
lifted and shifted to AIIMS Delhi in view of suspected attacks on him by the pro-dam activists. A senior administrative officer
said that Aggarwal managed to reach Lachmoli by bus despite a ban on his entry into the state. Source: Times of India
Bus with pilgrims falls into Ganga, 26 dead
NEW DELHI, May 24, 2012: Police said a bus full of Hindu pilgrims plunged into the
Ganga, killing 26 people. Rescuers worked more than four hours to pull the bodies from the river
late Tuesday in Uttarakhand. Local Tehri district police official Janmejaya
Khanduri said four people are hospitalized in critical condition. The private tour bus had been traveling west from Badrinath to the holy
city of Rishikesh with 45 passengers from central Madhya Pradesh. Police say the driver lost control while trying to overtake a truck on the road.
Seers plan 'Delhi march' to save Ganga
VARANASI, May 22, 2012: The seers congregated at the Ganga Mukti Mahasammelan at Beniabagh Park on Monday evening and displayed their
determination to continue their struggle until the flow of water in river Ganga is maintained undisrupted and the holy river becomes free from pollution.
Apart from seers, thousands of locals and heads of other religious groups also arrived to extend their support to the ongoing stir for
protecting river Ganga.
Before the mahasammelan started, the seers held a meeting at Shri Vidya
Muth at Kedar Ghat where they passed several resolutions including marching towards Delhi before the commencement of Chaturmas, forming a
national committee of religious authorities to spread the stir across the country. The head of Ganga Seva Abhiyanam, Swami
Awimukteshwaranand, chaired this meeting. During the mahasammelan, the speakers highlighted the problems faced by
holy river and also discussed many important issues for saving the river. The harm caused by dams in maintaining the flow of the river in its complete
course was also discussed.
Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand had initiated the ongoing stir four months
back by observing fast-unto-death. Following him, various other sanyasis and Ganga bhakts observed the fast-unto-death demanding a 'dam-free'
Ganga. The agitation initiated by the seers was supported by people of all communities and sections. While vedic students, batuks, sanyasis,
devotees travelling to the city participated in rituals praying for undisrupted
Ganga, people associated with various organisations, schools, colleges organised awareness rallies and procession to extend
Prominent saints like Chinmayanand, Sukhdev Das, Swami S
Saraswati, Swami Ramkrishnanand, Swami Chakrapani, Yogi Rakeshnath, Mahant Ganesh Das, Anant Bodh, Laxmini Shashtri, Neelmani Shashtri, Kalyan Dev, VInay
Swarup, waterman Rajendra Singh, actor Anupam Shyam and many others were present during the mahasammelan.
National Ganga River Basin Authority: Smt.Jayanthi Natarajan
Delhi, May 21, 2012: The Minister of State (I/C) for Environment and Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan informed the Lok Sabha today that Shri Rajendra
Singh, Shri Ravi Chopra and Prof R.H. Siddiqi, non-official expert members of the Authority, had conveyed their resignation vide e-mail
dated 10.03.2012 in support of the demands of Prof. G.D Agarwal (now Swami Gyan Swarup
Sanand) on issues concerning conservation of river Ganga. It was mentioned in the communication that no action has been taken inspite of request for immediate intervention by the Government in
the matter. However, their resignation was not accepted by the Chairman and they attended the 3rd meeting of National Ganga River Basin Authority
(NGRBA) held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister on 17.04.2012.
In reply to a question the Minister said that the NGRBA in its first
meeting decided that under /Mission Clean Ganga/ no untreated municipalsewage and industrial effluents flow into the river by 2020. In order to
meet the shortfall in the sewage treatment infrastructure, projects amounting to Rs. 2598.47 crore have been sanctioned under the NGRBA for
development of sewer networks, sewage treatment plants, electric crematoria, community toilets, development of river fronts etc in the
States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The Central
Government has released an amount of Rs 492.06 crore to the States and an expenditure of Rs. 318.16 crore has been incurred till March 2012
towards implementation of these projects. Besides, a World Bank assisted project to be implemented over a period of 8 years at an estimated cost
of Rs 7000 crore has also been approved for conservation and restoration of water quality of the river
Ganga. However the Minister added that Prof. G.D Agarwal of Ganga Sewa Abhiyan has been on fast
demanding urgent measures by the NGRBA to protect river Ganga. In this regard, the issues raised by him were discussed in meeting of the NGRBA
held on 17.04.2012 in the presence of the delegation of Ganga Sewa Abhiyan which represented him. Source: Ministry of Environment and Forests 21-May, 2012
Polluted Ganga is unable to provide potable water
KANPUR, May 10, 2012: The decline in the water level of river Ganga in
the past fortnight has made the situation alarming in and around the region. Increasing pollution level in the holy river is also adding to
the problem. The pollution has turned the water of Ganga into dark black/brown colour.
It is because of this reason that the crisis of drinking water under, which
the city is reeling these days would deepen in coming days.
The Bhairoghat pumping station, which fetches nearly 20 crore litres of
water from the Ganga is finding it difficult to meet the requirement. The staff of the pumping station is striving hard every day to get water
from the river. This is happening as the river has drifted away from the ghats. Also the river has gone away from the Bhairoghat pumping station.
Not only the water level of the Ganga has declined drastically at Bhairoghat, Ranighat, Magzine Ghat, Gola Ghat but also its colour has
changed. The Jal Sansthan, which pumps water from the river from various
city ghats has been toiling hard in doing the job. The Sansthan is incurring high cost in fetching raw water via pumping station out of the
river Ganga. This is happening due to increased cost of the chemicals
used to purify raw water. If the officials of Jal Sansthan are to be believed the water currently
flowing in the river is being discharged from Ganga Barrage. The same water is flowing and reaching city ghats. The river water can therefore,
not be used for any purpose including taking a dip in it or even drinking a drop of it as
'Ganga Jal'. Meanwhile, the scarcity of drinking water, has forced the city people to
rely on hand pumps and the water pumping motors or the submersible pump
sets. But hand pumps are unable to meet the water requirements. The water table in the city on the other hand has gone so down that deep water boaring
is to be done to fetch ground water. This has not only increased the cost of the installing submersible pumps but also the cost of labour one
has to pay. Those who can afford the expenses are getting the submersible pumps installed otherwise in the localities that are densely
populated, people have to stand in queues with empty cans to fill water. Source: Times of India
Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand admitted to hospital again
Varanasi, May 6, 2012 (PTI): Noted environmentalist Swami Gyan Swarup
Sanand, who has been fasting to press for his demand of conservation of Ganga
river, has once again been forcefully admitted to hospital here, sources said on Saturday.
Sanand was forcefully admitted to hospital late on Friday night by police officers after his medical report showed his deteriorating
health, they said. The environmentalist, formerly known as Dr G D Agrawal, had started his
third fast without water on May 2, demanding the shutting down of hydel projects on Ganga river.
Government officials tried to persuade Agrawal to give up his fast for
two days, but to no avail. His medical examination was conducted on Friday, and the report was sent
to the Centre, they said. Noting his deteriorating health, the government ordered that he be
immediately transferred to a medical facility, sources in district administration said.
After Agrawal refused to get admitted, police officials forcefully took
him to hospital where he was admitted to intensive care unit, they said.
He first started fast from March 9 for the cause, but following
deterioration in health, he was admitted, first to a district hospital and ultimately to AIIMS in Delhi, where Union Coal Minister Sriprakash
Jaiswal broke his fast after an assurance of action. However, later, he alleged the Centre was not taking any measures and
again went on fast on April 10. Owing to his health, he could not attend the meeting of National Ganga
River Basin Authority chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April
17. Now, he has returned here and again started fast for the cause. Swami
Bhikshu, who has also been fasting for the purification of Ganga, is being force fed in hospital since last month.
Sadhvi Poornamba and Krishnapriyanand have also been fasting for the cause.
Court seeks police reply for not acting against CM
Haridwar, April 24, 2012 (PTI): Court seeks police reply for not acting against CM Haridwar: A court
here on Monday sought a reply from police on a plea accusing it of not
registering a complaint against Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna for terming those agitating to cleanse Ganga as "outsiders".
Haridwar's Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Archana Sagar sought the
reply from the police on a plea by advocate Arun Bhadoria.In his plea, Bhadoria had alleged that his complaint against the Chief
Minister was neither registered by Kankhal police station in-charge nor
the district Superintendent of Police. He had further alleged the Chief Minister, after a meeting of the
National Ganga River Basin Authority in New Delhi on April 17, had said the clean Ganga campaign in the state was being spearheaded by some "outsiders".
Bhadoria told the court the remarks had hurt sentiments of those having faith in the Ganges. "The Ganga belongs to the entire nation.
Every Indian is responsible to keep Ganga clean and he has a right to agitate for it," said
Bhadoria. The court sought a reply by April 30.
Save Ganga: Shia cleric urges Muslims to take part in Varana
Varanasi, April 21, 2012 (IANS): In a first, Muslims of Uttar Pradesh have been asked to participate in the cleaning
up operations of the river Ganga, revered by millions across India. The appeal exhorting Muslims of the state to participate in the 'Save
Ganga' movement, currently underway in Varanasi, was made Friday by eminent Shia cleric and member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law
Board Maulana Kalbe Jawwad. In Varanasi to lend his support to the movement, Jawwad appealed to the
Muslim community to "actively participate" in the cleaning of the river
Ganga and allayed fears that any such activity would be treated against the community.
There was nothing in Islam that banned Muslims from participating in the
clean-Ganga operations, taken up by a section of local people, Hindu
priests and NGOs, he said. "Despite the fact that the river had been declared a national river by
the Indian government, no serious efforts have been undertaken to stop
pollution in the river," Jawwad said. Jawwad further added that the issue was not just related to the faith of
Hindus but also involved millions, including Muslims, who were irked at
the condition the Ganga was in. Source: Zeenews
Prime Minister calls a meeting of Ganga River Basin Authority
New Delhi, April 17, 2012 (PTI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday pulled up State governments for tardy
performance on sewage treatment and asked them to take action against
industries polluting the river. Voicing concern over discharge of 2,900 million litres of sewage in the
Ganga every day, Dr. Singh asked State governments to send proposals for
new sewage treatment plants and said that adequate funding was available
to take up projects. Addressing the third meeting of the National Ganga River Basin
Authority, he also flagged the issue of industrial pollution and said
that industrial effluents, though only 20 per cent of the total effluents, were a cause of major concern as they were toxic and
Dr. Singh said that the State Pollution Control Boards were required to
monitor compliance of effluent discharge standards. “Action must be taken against the defaulting industries by the State
Boards under the powers delegated to them by the Central government,”
the Prime Minister said. He requested the state governments to strengthen the relevant
enforcement mechanisms. Dr. Singh said the Plan drafted by IITs would recommend comprehensive
measures to restore and maintain the ecological health of the river giving due regard to the competing water uses and the necessity of a
paradigm shift in the manner in which land, water and other natural resources is exploited in the Ganga basin.
“This Plan will be the basis for the NGRBAs long term Action Plan to
deal with the multiple challenges we face in the task of cleaning the Ganga and maintaining its flows,” he said. He also requested the Chief Ministers to make an assessment of the
situation with regard to untreated sewage and industrial pollution and present a report to the NRGBA on the situation in their respective states.
Urging all the state governments concerned to make full use of the resources available with the
NRGBA, Dr. Singh said projects with an outlay of more than Rs 2,600 crore have been sanctioned so far under in
Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
Swami goes on fast again to save Ganga Varanasi
Varanasi, April 11, 2012 (PTI): Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand has once again gone on fast-unto-death to press for his
demand of conservation of Ganga river. This time, however, he has chosen an undisclosed location in a forest in
the state to prevent any disturbances by police or others. On April 5, Sanand had threatened to again sit on fast-unto-death if
outcome of the scheduled meet of National Ganga River Basin Authority on April 17 is not satisfactory.
He had also alleged the he had not received invitation for the April 17
meeting, and had threatened an early fast if he was not invited to the meet. Sanand had called off his 15-day long fast on March 23 at All India
Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in presence of Union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal after he received a written agreement from the
Central government. The Centre, in the agreement, had promised that it will look into
measures for Ganga conservation, and will ensure its unimpeded flow and cleanliness.- PTI
Scientists, seers continue their fight for Ganga
VARANASI, March 29, 2012: While the Ganga activists continued their
'tapasya' (austerity) for the Ganga at Kedar Ghat under the banner of Ganga Seva Abhiyanam, the environment scientists and researchers assembled at the
three-day conference at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and formulated recommendations for the Ganga basin management on
the concluding day on Wednesday. Both the scientist groups and the Ganga volunteers are going ahead with
the common goal of making river pollution free with uninterrupted flow
of water. With the support of the local community, the Ganga Seva Abhiyanam aims at mounting pressure on the Central government in view of
the proposed meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) scheduled on April 17, while the
environmentalists would forward the recommendations to the Prime Minister and other appropriate authorities.
"We will convene a meeting of all sections of the society on April 4 to decided the agenda and future course of action," said Swami Avimukteshwaranad
Saraswati, the convener of the Ganga Seva Abhiyanam and disciple of Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati. Swami, who
was camping in New Delhi with Swami Sanand (noted environmentalist Prof GD Agrawal), returned to the city on Tuesday evening to lead the movement.
Meanwhile, people from various communities including boatmen, teerth purohit, dhobi, dome (people engaged in cremation), voluntary and social
organisations extended their support to the Ganga movement. Brahmanchari Krishna Priyanand was sitting on fast at Kedar Ghat while Ganga Premi
Bhikhshu had been on fast unto death for past six days on the hospital bed in Shiv Prasad Gupt Hospital.
"We will not leave the movement at any cost. We pray that good sense
prevails among the NGRBA authorities and they take the issue seriously in the meeting. Otherwise the movement would continue," said
Avimukteshwaranad. Source: Times of India
Save Ganga activist, GD Agarwal to end fast
New Delhi, March 23, 2012 (IANS): Environmentalist GD Agarwal, 80, who is on a fast-unto-death since January
15 to save the Ganga river, Friday agreed to end his fast after the government agreed to his demands, his supporters said.
"He will break his fast today (Friday) as we got a communiqué from the
government accepting our demands," Tarun Agarwal, GD Agarwal's nephew, told IANS.
He said Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and minister of State in the
Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy will meet the 80-year-old activist Friday afternoon at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences
(AIIMS), where he was shifted from Varanasi Monday. Agarwal had stopped taking water from March 9.
A former Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) professor, Agarwal is unhappy over unsatisfactory and ineffective
functioning of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), a central government constituted
body for cleaning the Ganga. Besides, Agarwal is against ongoing construction of dams/barrages/tunnels on Ganga which he says would totally destroy the
natural flow and quality of the river water; the "total failure" of regulatory agencies in controlling discharge of urban and industrial
wastes into the Ganga and "complete lack of sensitivity" of the government on these issues.
Anna Hazare Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged
him to immediately call a meeting of the NGRBA in the wake of the deteriorating condition of
Agarwal. Agarwal has served as secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board,
the country's premier anti-pollution body, and helped put together environmental legislation in India. This is his third fast-unto-death in
the last four years.
Anna Hazare urges PM to convene meeting of Ganga Basin Authority
New Delhi, March 22, 2012 (PTI): Anna Hazare today urged Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh to immediately convene a meeting of Ganga Basin Authority and stop construction of dams
on the holy river till a decision is taken by the body. Expressing solidarity with GD Aggarwal, who went on a fast demanding
convening of the meeting, Hazare said the government should listen to
the suggestions of the ailing activist. "It is not right that a democratic government is not listening to the
aspirations of its people," he said in a letter to the Prime Minister. "The meeting of the Authority has to be convened fast. And till then,
there should not be any activity of construction of dams," he said. Noting that Ganga has an important place in the hearts of people, he
said the present state of the holy river was pathetic. He said the dams built on the river in Uttarakhand were hindering its
flow leading to pollution in the water body. Noting that the Ganga Basin Authority was set up to restore the river in
its glory, he said though it was set up three years ago, it met only twice.
"Dams are being built on Ganga's three tributaries - Bhagirathi, Mandakini and Alakananda -- in Uttarakhand resulting in change of course
of river. The Authority was formed to take decisions on such issues. The
meeting of the Authority had to be convened before taking up such activities," he said.
Hazare claimed that the construction of dams resulted in increase of pollution in the river as well as its flow was stopped in many parts of
Fasting Ganga activist referred to AIIMS
Varanasi, March 19, 2012 (PTI): Noted environmentalist GD Agrawal, who is on
"fast-unto-death" to press for cleaning up of river Ganga, was on Monday referred from BHU to AIIMS
in New Delhi after his health deteriorated further. Also known as Swami Gyanswaroop Anand, Agrawal was recently transferred to the Sir Sundal
Lal Hospital of Benaras Hindu University (BHU) from the district hospital after suffering a heart attack.
He was taken to New Delhi on an air ambulance from the Babatpur airport in Varanasi, sources close to Agrawal said.
Meanwhile, some of the close aides of Agrawal have alleged that he has
been shifted unnecessarily and that in a recent letter sent to them, the activist had claimed to be in sound health.
Recently, Magsaysay award-winner 'Waterman' Rajendra Singh and two
others had also quit from the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) on March 10
expressing solidarity with Agrawal, who has been on fast for past 11 days.
PM deputes minister to talk to fasting Ganga activist
NEW DELHI, March 14, 2012: In damage control mode, the prime minister on Tuesday sent
Union coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal to placate the fasting G
D Agarwal a new rishi to save the Ganga , a retired professor of IIT Kanpur who recently 'embraced sanyas' and took the name
'Swami Gyan Swarup Sanand'. Agrawal has been on fast since January 14 at Varanasi protesting against
the continued pollution of Ganga. Three members of the PM-chaired National Ganga River Basin Authority-- Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, Ravi Chopra and R H Siddiqi --
had resigned on March 10 forcing the government to pay attention to the
79-year old Agrawal's plight and demands. Jaiswal was rushed to Varanasi after a meeting held by the PM with
finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan besides others to
address the issue on Monday. Sources said Rajendra Singh has accompanied Jaiswal and the intention is
to find out Agrawal's demands.
This is neither the first time Agrawal has resorted to fasting to bring
attention to issues about the Ganga nor is it the first time that the UPA has put forth a team headed by a minister to placate him. Earlier,
in August 2010, Agrawal had gone on fast to demand continuous flow of water in the tributaries of Ganga in Uttarakhand, forcing Mukherjee to
send a personal missive to him requesting him to end the fast and accepting some of his demands. Source: Times of india
Three members of Ganga River Basin Authority panel quit
NEW DELHI, March 11, 2012: Three non-official members in the PM-chaired National Ganga River Basin Authority, including `waterman' Rajendra Singh, resigned
from the panel protesting against the government's inaction to tackle pollution in the river.
The trio - Rajendra Singh of Tarun Bharat Sangh, Ravi Chopra of Peoples'
Science Movement and R H Siddiqi, a retired professor of the Aligarh Muslim University - have said that the government's apathy towards the
continuing fast by Professor G D Agarwal on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi has led them to quit the board.
"We are sending this letter of resignation as we are deeply concerned
and worried about the fast deteriorating health condition of Professor G.D Agarwal, an eminent
scientist who served with distinction at IIT-Kanpur and Central Pollution Control Board. He has been consistently
campaigning for several years to save the holy river Ganga. He had undertaken the fast on January 14, 2012, and has even stopped taking
water from March 8, 2012. He is at present sitting at the bank of Ganga at Varanasi. His health is extremely critical. We have been requesting
the Government to immediately intervene but no action has been taken so far," they cited.
Criticizing the lack of action by the Authority that was set up with
much fanfare about a year ago, they wrote, "We may humbly point out that though the Authority has been constituted nearly three years back but it
has met only twice. There has been no meeting for the last one and a half years in spite of our repeated requests. It is also on record that
no worthwhile action has been taken by the Authority on any of the critical issues concerning the river
They added, "In the circumstances, we consider it our duty towards the
holy river Ganga and people of this country to resign as member of the
National Ganga River Basin Authority forthwith and continue our movement for preservation and protection of
the river in support of G D Agrawal." Agarwal's earlier fast had caught the media
attention nationally, and compelled the government to assess dams upstream on the Ganga's
tributaries and their impacts on flow of the river.
Green Tribunal stops GMR’s hydel project in Uttarakhand
New Delhi, February 15, 2012: In a major setback to the environment ministry, the
National Green Tribunal has put the forest clearance given to a hydel project on
Alakananda river in Uttaranchal on hold. The ministry has given forest clearance to the project despite the
Forest Advisory Committee, a statutory body, rejected the project promoted by GMR, twice on the ground that it would
harms wildlife living in forests that will get submerged because of it. The Wildlife Institute of India had clearly said that the project would
adversely impact snow leopard and other animals. The WII study was commissioned by the ministry. The 300 MW Alaknanda-Badrinath hydro project is located in the buffer
zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve which has two core zones the Nanda Devi National Park (NP) and Valley of Flowers. Both the core zones are
inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Source: Hindustan Times"
Ganga campaign: Environmentalist sits on fast in Haridwar
Haridwar, February 11, 2012
(PTI): Noted environmentalist G D Agrawal has begun an indefinite fast over the degradation of Ganga river here. Agrawal, who
has undertaking several fasts in the past over the issue, began his fast yesterday at Matri Sadan ashram. Construction of dams on river Ganga,
shifting its water through canals, draining of effluents into the river
are still continuing despite an assurance from the Prime Minister in this regard, he said. In 2008, the former IIT-Kanpur professor had sat
on the fast in Uttarkashi district on the bank of Bhagirathi river, forcing the Uttarakhand government and the Centre to scrap three