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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Swami Shivanand ends 11-day fast

Haridwar, December 6
Exactly after 11 days of his indefinite fast against large-scale quarrying on the Ganga river bed in Haridwar, Matra Sadan ashram founder Swami Shivanand ended his agitation after getting a copy of the government notification from the administration banning quarrying on the Ganga river beds at Bishanpur Kundi and Bhogpur till a final report is submitted by the Central Environment Impact Assessment Committee.
At 11 am this morning, Swami Shivanand drank juice in the presence of Dayanand Maharaj of Adi Kalipeeth and Jagadguru Swaroopanand ashram’s Brahamchari Divyanand and several other activists of the Save-Ganga campaign.
Late last night Haridwar District Magistrate D Senthyl Pendiyan had visited Matra Sadan and submitted to Swami Shivanand a letter signed by Chief Secretary, Industrial Development, Rakesh Sharma. The letter states that the quarrying has been completely prohibited in the two specified ghats of Bishanpur Kundi and Bhogpur until the central environment committee evaluates all the aspects and presents its final evaluation report. By taking this step on one hand the state government has appeased Swami Shivanand while on the other it has put the ball in the Central Government’s court.
Revenue Minister Diwakar Bhatt has expressed apprehension that till the Central committee submits its report, thousands of people involved in quarrying will be affected.
Swami Nigmanand, a disciple of Swami Shivanand, had observed fast for 68 days continuously and was forcibly admitted to a hospital by the adiministration. In the hospital too he continued his agitation and died after 109 days of agitation.
Thousands hold protest against ban on quarrying 
Haridwar, December 6
Thousands of people in Haridwar district expressed resentment over the state government’s decision to ban quarrying by staging a protest at the District Magistrate’s office.
Prior to the gherao of the DM office, a huge procession of vehicles in favour of quarrying started from Jagjeetpur village where the Matra Sadan ashram is situated.
More than 150 tractor trailers participated in the procession which rallied through the inner city colonies of Kankhal, Ranipur, Bhagat Singh and BHEL.
Villagers involved with quarrying business from Jagjeetpur, Bishanpur Tanda, Kundi, Laksar, Shahpur, Missirpur, Katarpur, Panjanhedi, Jeopata and nearby river bed villages participated in the protest, raising slogans against the BJP government, the administration and the Matra Sadan.
Submitting a memorandum, the pro-quarrying agitators said the ban on quarrying in the region will pose a threat to their families as this was the only major source of livelihood for them.
The protesters also said they fully supported prohibition on illegal quarrying and express full cooperation with the administration to make sure only legal quarrying was allowed in the region.
“We will also adhere to the norms and procedures as specified in the state quarrying policy. Special precautions will adhered to to make sure the Ganga bed ecology doesn’t get affected due to quarrying but for that the administration should invite us to table,” said Bhogpur village head Jag Pal Singh, a representative of the protesters.
“Even our trailers are funded by banks. From where will we pay the installments and feed our families? The government should provide us alternative livelihood resources and then should have taken such a step,”said Mukharram Ansari a tractor trailer operator.
SSP Pushkar Sailal said that no one will be allowed to operate quarrying in the region and a police vigil has been upped in the quarrying zone.

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