PM Modi, ‘Kya Hua Tera Vaada’ of Reviving River Ganga?

As the deadline for Namami Gange approaches, activists claim PM Modi’s election promises have remained unfulfilled.

My Report
2 min read

Reporter: Asmita Nandy

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come to power with an election promise of cleaning up river Ganga. A year later, the Modi government launched the 'Namami Gange mission', a five-year Ganga rejuvenation plan.

The government had set aside a budget of Rs 20,000 crore to clean the river from 2014-2015 to 2019-2020. However, as we move closer to its deadline, environmentalists and Ganga activists ask, “Kya Hua Tera Vaada?”

A 26-year-old seer and successor of Professor GD Agrawal, Brahmacharya Atmabodhanand has been fasting for over 155 days in Haridwar’s Matri Sadan to protest the destruction of river Ganga.

A frail Atmabodhanand, who spends most part of the day in the green shade outside his quaint cottage, is on a diet that comprises honey, lemon and water. Unfolding a newspaper on his lap, he says, “The Narendra Modi government is trying to replicate the Panama canal-Suez canal model on river Ganga. Mining in the river bed has been at its height in the last fiver years.”


Ganga crusader Prof GD Agrawal, also known as Swami Sanand, who was on a 111 day-long hunger strike, breathed his last on 11 Octobe, 2018 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh.

Following his death, Atmabodhanand decided to take forward the fight. “I am from the south. I wanted to tell everyone that a south Indian cares as much for river Ganga as a person from the northern part of the country.”

Atmabodhanand’s guru at the Matri Sadan, Swami Shivanand, says, “The biggest irony is they (the BJP) killed Swami Sanand by letting him fast for 111 days. Today, Atmabodhanand entered his 155th day of fasting and nobody cares. And they say they are doing development, they are a religious party.”

Another Ganga activist based in Haridwar, Rameshwar Gaur, says the state BJP government had promised to build a wall and treat the sewage flowing into the holy river. “They have done an incomplete job,” he claims.

Calling the BJP and the Congress “two sides of the same coin”, Atmabodhanand said, “Whoever comes to power by invoking the name of River Ganga, starts selling her.”

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