Dr G D Agarwal to continue his fast-unto-death in New Delhi

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Uttarkashi, Jun 21 (UNI) A day after the State Government agreed to immediately suspend work on two major hydel projects in the Bhagirathi valley, Dr G D Agarwal, who has been observing a fast unto death for the ninth day today, has decided to shift his campaign to New Delhi on June 23 and continue his fast there.

His decision to shift to the National Capital is to pressurise the Central Government to withdraw the Loharinag-Pala Project on the tributory of the Ganga. He has also asked all Indians who revere the Ganga as their mother to join him in his struggle.

Confronted by mounting pressure from certain quarters to convince the 76-year-old veteran environmentalist to call off his fast, the State Government had yesterday decided to immediately suspend the work on two major power projects--the 480 MW Pala-Maneri and 381 MW Bhairon Ghati.

Dr Agrawal, however, pointed out a few discrepancies in the government's recent move: 1. The work on the two projects -- 480 MW Pala-Maneri and 381 MW Bhairon Ghati -- has merely been suspended and these two projects have not been completely withdrawn.

2. Maneri Bhali - I and Maneri Bhali - II projects have already been commissioned and as such are proving highly detrimental in maintaining unfettered flow of river Bhagirathi. He, however, said that the Government can make amendmends by suitably scaling down the limit of power production, the specifics of which can be worked out at a later stage. "Suspension of work on two major power projects is a positive sign and we are thankful to the government for the same but this leaves out the NTPC's Loharinag Pala from the purview of projects which are needed to be completely shut down for all times to come", said Dr Anil Gautam, one of Dr Agrawal's students who is also agitating in Uttarkashi. He added that until this project was completely done away with, unfettered flows of Bhagirathi could not be ensured.

UNI PB ARB NS1953

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