Noted Indian Scientist To Fast Unto Death to Protest Dams on Ganges and India's Pollution Control

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Dr. G D Agrawal, one of India's leading environmentalists, will begin a fast unto death on June 13, 2008 to protest the government's plan to construct dams along the Ganges river.

I strongly believe that the natural flow of the Bhagirathi Ganga upstream of Uttarkashi should not be disturbed by any man-made structures

Dr. G D Agrawal, one of India's leading environmentalists, will begin a fast unto death on June 13 to protest the government's plan to construct dams along the Ganges river.

Dr. Agrawal, 76, has been a prominent adviser to the government as well as a leading academic researcher and practitioner in the field of environmental impact assessment. As the Member-Secretary (like a CEO) of the Central Pollution Control Board, he is credited with shaping India's pollution control regulatory structure as well as other environmental policies.

His decision to undertake his fast stems from his frustration over the government's apathetic and callous response to many years of more conventional anti-dam protests. "I strongly believe that the natural flow of the Bhagirathi Ganga upstream of Uttarkashi should not be disturbed by any man-made structures," says Dr. Agrawal. Environmentalists, professional colleagues and activists around the country have appealed to the government to avert Dr. Agrawal's death by pledging to end any dam construction on the Ganges between Gangotri and Uttarkashi, the first 100 km from the source of the river.

"Dr. Agrawal is both deeply religious and rigorously scientific. His passionate devotion to the Ganges River comes from his strong Hindu faith; his certainty that India is on the brink of an unprecedented ecological and cultural disaster comes from his powerfully logical mind," says Dr. Ravi Chopra, Director, People's Science Institute, which Dr. Agrawal chairs. "As a citizen and a patriot, he has made it his life's mission to recall India to its glorious traditional reverence for nature and to share that wisdom with the 'developed' world. His sense of his duty allows him to do no less," he adds.

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