Drive to get Upper Ganga declared a World Heritage site
The Pioneer – 25th June, 2012
Renowned environmentalist Dr Ranjit Bhargava has highlighted the need for including Rishikesh and Haridwar in the Upper Ganga Region which he has been urging the Government to work toward getting it declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site
A meeting and a seminar on the issue were held at Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh) recently which was attended by Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Professor DS Bhargava (retd IIT Roorkee Prof), Atul Bhargava (Superintending Archaeologist, ASI), Dr AN Shukla (Botanical Survey of India), Dr Anil Gupta (Director Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology), Dr VC Tiwari (Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology), Dr PS Negi (Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology), RK Acharya (FRI), and Raj Deo Singh Chandella (Environmentalist and Social Activist). Discussions were held with presentations by ASI and Ganga Action Parivaar.
Dr Ranjit Bhargava said that if the Upper Ganga Region was declared a World Heritage site, development would not be hampered. “It will rather be developed in a proper manner with funding and under the observation of UNESCO,” he said. This has been ably supported by eminent scientist and researcher on Ganga Prof DS Bhargava from IIT, Roorkee. His unmatched research on Ganga, his dedication and support has been a big driving force. He has been involved with cleaning of the Ganga with his valueable inputs and elaborate research on this subject.
Raj Deo Singh Chandella has been involved actively with Dr Bhargava and Prof Bhargava. Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh joined in supporting this drive and has been a driving force organising meetings and seminars. Swami Chidanand Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan formed GAP (Ganga Action Parivaar) to support this drive that was started by Dr Ranjit Bhargava.
Dr Bhargava wrote to Digvijay Singh, the General Secretary Indian National Congress, to suggest to the Government of India to recommend the Upper Ganga as a World Heritage Site. Singh sent a letter to ASI, Dehradun, recommending this. Atul Bhargava had already included the Upper Ganga in the tentative list alongwith the Ashoka Rock Edict, Kalsi and the Jageshwar cluster of temples in Kumaon. Atul Bhargava is working on this, making presentations and will be preparing the final dossier.
Atul Bhargava, Superintending Archaeologist ASI, has been preparing an extensive report on Singh’s recommendation to get the Upper Ganga the status of a World Heritage Site. Dr Ranjit Bhargava has written to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna to refer the matter to the Central Government and met Uttarakhand Governer Dr Aziz Qureshi, who after hearing him out, immediately dispatched a letter from his office to the Prime Minister.