Former IIT professor G. D. Agarwal, a crusader for saving the Ganga, has taken “sanyas” and will henceforth be known as Swami Gyan Swaroop.

Talking to newspersons in Haridwar, the “newborn” Swami announced that he would undertake a fast unto death to save the Ganga and Alaknanda from destruction by big dams from Makar Sankranti falling on January 14, 2012.

Swami Swaroop extended support to his associate Swami Shivanand, founder of Matri Sadan, who has been on fast since November 26 seeking an end to quarrying on the Ganga riverbed in Kumbh area.

‘Quarrying necessary'

Uttarakhand Revenue Minister Dewakar Bhatt at a separate press conference, however, urged Swami Shivanand to give up his fast as quarrying or trenching on the riverbed was necessary to keep it low and save adjoining areas from flash floods.

A 36-year-old seer of Matri Sadan, Swami Nigmanand, died on June 13 this year after fasting for 104 days seeking a ban on quarrying in the Kumbh area.

The Matri Sadan had then accused the Haridwar District Hospital staff of having poisoned him.

The parents of Nigmanand, hailing from Darbhanga in Bihar, in a separate statement accused Swami Shivanand of having allegedly drugged him (Nigmanand) and forced him to undertake long fasts despite his deteriorating health. His father Prakash Jha wanted a CBI probe alleging that vested interests were out to save Shivanand and the hospital staff.