Rishikesh: Environmentalist and Ganga activist Professor G D Agrawal (87), also called Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, who was on a fast-unto-death in Haridwar’s Matri Sadan ashram for conservation of the river, died of cardiac arrest at AIIMS Rishikesh on Thursday afternoon.
He began the fast-unto-death on June 22 this year, demanding the passage of Ganga Protection Act, scrapping of all proposed and under-construction hydropower projects on the Ganga, a total ban on sand mining in the river-bed of the Ganga in Haridwar and formation of a council to look into issues related to the river.
Declaring his decision to undertake the fast-unto-death, Agrawal had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 23. He had mentioned that while he had written to Modi on February 24, 2018 and June 13, 2018, mentioning the condition of the Ganga, “you took no action”. “Therefore, I have undertaken a fast-unto-death,” he wrote.
Agrawal, a former IIT Kanpur professor, was the first member-secretary of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and was baptised as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand in July 2011. He had undertaken similar fasts in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013, demanding steps to ensure uninterrupted flow of the Ganga by banning construction of hydropower projects, and a ban on sand mining in the riverbed in Haridwar.
On October 2 this year, water conservationist Rajendra Singh, along with a team of 20 scientists, activists, and environmentalists had started a 105-day yatra from Gaumukh in Uttarakhand to Gangasagar in West Bengal to support Agrawal in his fast.