Agarwal had sent several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had in 2014 pledged on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to ensure cleaning of the holy river. Photograph:( PTI )
Environment activist GD Agarwal, who was sitting on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the government to clean the river Ganga, died at the AIIMS hospital in Rishikesh on Thursday, officials said.
The 86-year old former IIT-Kanpur professor, Agarwal had been on hunger strike since June 22 for a pollution-free and uninterrupted flow in the Ganga.
He had demanded that steps be taken to make the river free-flowing for natural cleansing, and also a ban on construction of all hydroelectric projects along the tributaries of the Ganga besides enactment of the Ganga Protection Management Act.
Agarwal had sent several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had in 2014 pledged on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to ensure cleaning of the holy river.
However, the government paid no heed to his demands, said `IITians for Holy Ganga`, a forum formed to preserve the heritage and ecology of the river.
GD Agarwal, our leading environmentalist who fasted 109 days to save the Ganga, was forcibly picked up by the Uttarakhand police&hospitalized yesterday.He passed away today after his pleas to save the Ganga fell on Modi's deaf years. RIP Dear Sir. This world is not for pure souls https://t.co/7a95ICK1tq— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) October 11, 2018
Agarwal was moved to the AIIMS, Rishikesh, on October 9 from the protest site.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan criticised the government saying Agarwal was forcibly picked up by the Uttarakhand police and hospitalised.
Modi ji said river Ganga is calling him but it is even more polluted than it was in '14. Rs 22000 Cr was allotted for cleaning it,not even 1/4th of it has been used. Is Namami Gange also a 'jumla'?Maybe GD Agarwal ji's sacrifice will provide vision to this blind govt: R Surjewala pic.twitter.com/H2tGPQb7eg— ANI (@ANI) October 11, 2018
"He passed away today after his pleas to save the Ganga fell on Modi`s deaf ears. RIP Dear Sir. This world is not for pure souls," Bhushan tweeted.
Union River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari had in August this year said nearly 70-80 per cent of the cleaning work of the Ganga would be completed by March 2019 and the holy river would become completely clean by 2020.