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Small-time leaders acting as stooges of contractors, says Water Man

Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service
Dehradun, November 9

Magsaysay Award recipient Rajinder Singh who has earned the sobriquet of “Water Man” and was at the helm of Ganga Lok Yatra that travelled through different parts of Uttarakhand, has said no sooner did the yatra end the National Ganga Basin River Authority, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, declared the 135-km stretch from Gomukh to Uttarkashi as an eco-sensitive area.

“The demand should have come from the people, but I am happy that the government took the decision. It is our heritage and has to be preserved for future generations. In several areas the river has been reduced to a stream. The holy Zam Zam spring in Mecca and our own Ganga river have high status in the minds of the people and so they should remain,” he said, while speaking to The Tribune.

He said the people should resist contractor-driven democracy. “At the behest of leaders of a local party that have vested interests in the continuation of power projects, they tried to stop the Ganga Lok Yatra, but were unsuccessful. What can you do when small-time leaders act as stooges of contractors,” he said while brushing off the incident as part and parcel of an activist’s life. [more]