Creed no bar to join 'Save Ganga' confluence

People came out on the streets on Monday to demand strong measures from the government for a pollution free Ganga.

The protesters included people from the Muslim community as well as Hindu priests. They staged a protest march from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at Rajghat to Jantar Mantar.

“We are crusading for getting the Ganga cleaned. We want a ban on building of dams on the river. The government must take action to restore purity of the river, which was ranked among the five most polluted rivers of the world in 2007,” said Rajendra Singh, water conservationist from Alwar in Rajasthan, who is also a member of the Save Ganga Movement.

Badrinathpeeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand, who participated in the agitation, said a separate ministry for conservation of Ganga should be set up. “We have sent a six-point charter of demands to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the issue,” he said.

Singh said a separate law should be enacted to ensure that both Ganga and Yamuna rivers are cleaned immediately.

Over 200 people participated in the rally in Delhi. Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti also turned up.

“L K Advani could not come but he supports the cause. We need to maintain the integrity of the country by saving the Ganga,” said Bharti. “We are not saying that India should not progress and create electricity. We can use facilities provided by the river but not at the cost of our mother earth’s blood,” added Bharti.

Singh alleged that the government is trying to fool people by saying that it is cleaning the river.

“The government had launched a mega scheme named Ganga Action Plan in the mid 1980s. Despite billions of rupees having been invested, there has been no results. The government has now approved a $1 billion loan taken from the World Bank last year to fund an eight-year project to clean the river. Who are they trying to fool?” Singh said.

Clean India project starts

New Delhi, PTI: With the twin objectives of attracting more visitors and providing a hygienic environment at tourist destinations across the country, the government will launch the Clean India project at Qutab Minar on Tuesday.

Round-the-clock garbage clearance, maintenance of parking lots and toilets, and proper signages at heritage sites are some of the measures to be carried out under the project.

Tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay will launch the campaign. The ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India have identified 36 monuments in the first phase of the project. India Tourism Development Corporation is also involved in the project.

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