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Octogenarian green activist agrees to end fast

Delhi,Environment/Wildlife, Fri, 23 Mar 2012 IANS

New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) Environmentalist G.D. Agarwal, 80, who is on a fast-unto-death since Jan 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 communique from the government accepting our demands," Tarun Agarwal, G.D. 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.


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