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Swami followers write to PM against illegal mining on Ganga
Accusing the State Government of blatant apathy towards Swami Shivanand’s hunger strike against illegal mining on the Ganga riverbed in the Kumbh Mela area, a group of scientists, environmentalists, activists and followers of the Swami have written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
They pointed out that Matri Sadan in Haridwar has been demanding ban on mining and stone crushing on the Ganga in Haridwar for many years with successive central and State Governments also approving the demand from time to time. However, illegal mining has continued on the Ganga here on a large scale.
Addressing the media, Swaraj Abhiyan national advisory board member Ravi Chopra said that the boulders and other material being excavated from the Ganga have been lying on the spread of the river here for ages. No boulders and such material are carried by the flow of the Ganga in Haridwar from the upstream area. This has also been acknowledged in the 2015 and 2016 probe report of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. For the ecological conservation of the Ganga, the previous Government had formed an expert group acknowledging the need for a pre and post monsoon study of the conditions while also issuing an order for action according to the group’s recommendations on March 18, 2016.
However, this order has not been executed yet. “It is unfortunate that the Bharatiya Janata Party Government considered to be that of Ganga bhakts is focusing on revenue instead of the ecological condition and importance of the Ganga,” said Chopra.
Anjay Verma of Jankranti Vikas Morcha said that various reports and orders from different authorities against mining the Ganga in Haridwar are being ignored by the administration. The report of the Haridwar sub divisional magistrate dated May 29 this year also favours a ban on mining in the Ganga in the said area. The State Government however, is focusing mainly on generating revenue from the excavation of the Ganga riverbed and operation of stone crushers on the banks of the Ganga, which also abet illegal quarrying activities, he said.
In their letter to the PM, the activists have cited Central Pollution Control Board order directing that stone crushers be moved five kilometers away from the banks of the Ganga. The Ministry and CPCB have also stated in the National Green Tribunal that mining causes major damage to the ecology of the Ganga. Citing these and other facts, the activists had criticised the stance of the state government, requesting the PM to intervene without delay to stop unscientific mining of the Ganga. It should be mentioned here that Shivanand had given up even water since May 26 and has continued his hunger strike though he has resumed to take water after a halt on mining due to the rainfall.
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