Prof.G. D. Agrawal's satyagraha against the construction of dams on the Bhagirathi River

Pained by the unrelenting destruction of the Ganga river, especially by a series of dams in its upper reaches, Dr G.D. Agrawal, India's pre-eminent environmental quality scientist and a legendary Professor (and HoD) of Civil & Environmental Engineering at IIT-Kanpur. (Access:Biography Sketch Here) has decided to go on a fast-unto-death to oppose its continuing desecration. His conviction that we are staring at an unprecedented ecological and cultural catastrophe comes from his powerfully logical mind. Critique on proposed dams on Bhagirathi River. Access here: Critique on Dams

In a letter written to a few people close to him, Dr Agrawal explained his decision saying, "As you are aware, R. Bhagirathi Ganga has a very special place in Indian culture, thought and tradition. In the past few years, however, the continuity, quantity, quality and regime of flows are being disrupted for generation of hydro-electricity like all other rivers. Already in the reach downstream of Maneri, long stretches of Bhagirathi remain waterless for long periods. In the near future this may become the state of the entire river. As a serious student of environment sciences and as a faithful Hindu, this is hard for me to swallow. I strongly believe that at least Bhagirathi upstream of Uttarkashi should be spared of any works that disturb its natural flow-regime, ecology, purity or piety and, after brooding over it for several months, I have decided to oppose such works with all the might I have……. So after deep deliberation I have decided to "fast-unto-death" to oppose the destruction of this ecological marvel and the epitome of Hindu cultural faith." Several scientists and activists whom he has mentored over the years have come together to try and mobilize public opinion to pressurize the governments of India and Uttarakhand to abandon the construction of all dams on the Bhagirathi river, upstream of Uttarkashi. We seek your support in this endeavour. Some ways in which you can do this are listed below: (1) Help disseminate news of GD's fast and the underlying issues, as widely as possible. (I will be grateful if you can copy the mailing list to us.) (2) Write articles for newspapers, including your local and vernacular media. (Please send us copies of the published material.) (3) Write letters to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson UPA, the Union Ministers for Water Resources (Prof. Saifuddin Soz) and Power (Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde) and the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand urging then to abandon the construction of all the new dams on the Bhagirathi upstream of Uttarkashi. Please release the letters to the media and send us copies. (4) Mobilize local support groups , common people, women, students, scientists and other professionals, Ganga devotees, nature clubs, etc. Please let us know if you are interested in being part of a coordination group in your state. (5) Mobilize political support for the demand raised by Dr Agrawal. (6) Organize signature campaigns/online petitions. (7) Demonstrate your support for the issues that Dr Agrawal is raising. Mobilize groups of people to sit on one-day fasts and ensure that the media covers them. (Please send us news reports.) (8) Take delegations to meet high officials and decision-makers to lobby for the issues raised by Dr Agrawal and his basic demand. These are just some initial ideas that have come to our minds. Please let us know what else needs to be done and can be done. We welcome your ideas. Also keep us informed of what all you are doing. If you need more information from us, please do not hesitate to contact us. I am attaching embedded Hindi fonts with this mail, as one of attachments is in Hindi. We may be able to provide you photographs of G.D. Agrawal and the dry stretches of the Ganga, sample leaflets/letters/petitions/posters in Hindi and English in a week or ten days. Personally, I think that we have an uphill task before us, given the prevailing apathy and the obdurate governments at the centre and the state. Hence your active support is essential. I look forward to a positive and quick response from you. Access Dr. Agrawal's Announcement of his decision here: ================================================= 1. Dr.Agrawal's Announcement Letter: English 2. Dr.Agrawal's Announcement Letter: Hindi

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