VHP president Shri Ashok Singhal has urged the Central Government to bring a Bill in the Parliament to accord constitutional validity to the Ganga as National River. In a statement issued from Allahabad on November 5, Shri Singhal said the declaration of the Ganga as a National River and setting of a Ganga Basin Authority for sorting out various issues related to the matter is a welcome step. But unless it is followed by a Parliamentary legislation it will remain only a hollow declaration.
Shri Singhal further said it was Baba Ramdev, the founder of Patanjali Yogapeeth who thought of saving the Ganga by forming Ganga Rakshak Manch on June 17 this year. He was very much worried over the non-incessant flow of the river Bhagirathi and the growing pollution in the river. Most of the eminent saints of the country and various organisations engaged in the Ganga campaign project participated in this activity and the programmes of the Manch. As an outcome of this, a five-point action plan was finalised under the leadership of Baba Ramdev. A delegation of the saints met the Prime Minister on September 20 and apprised him of the Manch'sfive-point programme and its related demands. The Government of India must take prompt action to fulfil these demands. He said that only then the declaration would serve any purpose and would be meaningful.
In order to maintain the incessant flow of the Ganga, the Government will have to stop its projects being carried out on Bhagirathi. So far as the purity of the Ganga is concerned, the Government should see that the 3,000-cusec water of the Gangotri is allowed a free-flow into the river, barring, of course, the water of the tributaries. At present, after Narora downward, only 2.5 per cent of just 300-cusec water out of the total 19,500 cusec is released into the Ganga. Therefore, 3,000-cusec water needs to be released into the river. Only then, the Ganga will regain her original form.
All the state governments falling in the ambit of the Ganga basin will have to commit themselves to the purity of the Ganga by taking a resolve to this effect in their respective Legislative Assemblies. The Centre should direct all the State Governments to stop the Ganga Express Highway types of projects forthwith. Civic bodies should also frame such rules, and ensure their implementation, that human excreta and other industrial wastes and pollutants are prevented from finding way into the Ganga. People'sparticipation in such a ?Pure Ganga, Clean Ganga? plan is warranted and for this, people'sawaking programmes will have to be undertaken.
A time bound programme is needed for the pollution-free incessant flow of the Ganga. Only slogans and vote catching devices won'tdo. We have been deceived for the last 60 years. Now we should be watchful and be ready for future struggle. There is no doubt about this first success of the Ganga Raksha Manch but the saints of the country will not rest until the original purity and the incessant flow of the Ganga is fully restored. ?We are very much thankful to Baba Ramdev for the success as he led the nationwide campaign and made the Government heed our voice. We also demand that the government should accept the proposal of bringing water current direct from the back of Tehri Dam as was also suggested in the past by an expert committee headed by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi as its president. Only then the dream of pure and free Ganga as conceived by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya will be realised,? Shri Singhal added.
He also demanded that the Government should introduce a relevant Bill on the National River Ganga in this very session of Parliament to clear any doubt, and not play politics with such an important issue of faith.