‘Water man’ quits in Ganga protest

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India’s 'water man', Magsaysay award-winner Rajendra Singh, has resigned from the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) to express solidarity with Prof. G.D. Agarwal who decided on Friday to fast unto death because of the government’s refusal to clean up the Ganga river or restore its natural flow.

Mr Singh told this reporter that although the NGRBA was constituted three-and-a-half years ago, only two meetings have been held with the last one 18 months ago. This despite the World Bank having sanctioned a $1 billion loan to clean up India’s most revered river.

Two other distinguished water experts who have also resigned from the NGRBA are Ravi Chopra, director of the Dehradun-based People’s Science Institute, and R.H. Siddiqi, a former professor at AMU.

Prof. Agarwal, a noted scientist, has been sitting on a fast on the banks of the Ganga at Varanasi from January 14 demanding the government clean up the river, but to little avail. On Friday, Prof. Agarwal announced that he would not drink even a sip of water since his fast has had little effect on the government.

Mr Singh, Mr Chopra and Mr Siddiqi met minister for water resources Pawan Kumar Bansal earlier on Saturday warning him of Prof. Agarwal’s decision to fast unto death.

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