Social activist to go on fast over stalled power projects

Social activist Avdhash Kaushal announced here on Tuesday that he along with some colleagues would observe a one-day fast outside the Gandhi Park on Wednesday against what he described as indecision on the part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the National Ganga Basin Authority at its meeting in New Delhi on the stalled hydro-power projects in Uttarakhand.

These projects had the necessary clearances from the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests but were stalled by the Government under pressure from anti-development forces. “Where was G. D. Aggarwal when the Ganga in Kanpur was systematically converted into a gutter?” Mr. Kaushal asked. Mr. Aggarwal had served at the IIT in Kanpur.

“We (Uttarakhandis) are all for a healthy Ganga and the hydro power units being set do not pollute it. It is the industries after Rishikesh that pollute it and Mr. Aggarwal would do better taking up cleansing of at least a kilometre of the Ganga anywhere downstream of Rishikesh or Haridwar,” he said.

“It was the common man's money that was pumped into these projects. It was not the money of the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Government must come out with a White Paper on the present and future power projects of Uttarakhand,” he said urging the Prime Minister to at least respect the views of his party Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna to order resumption of works at the stalled projects.