Haridwar: At the temple town of Haridwar lies the Samadhi of Swami Nigamanand, a man who gave up his life to save the Ganga after being on a 100-day fast. He fought a lone battle against stone crushers and illegal mining mafia operating on the river. And at his Samadhi, now sits another holy man.
"I consider Ganga my mother. And I cannot see my mother in such poor condition till I am alive. If this does not stop, I am ready to give up my life," said G D Aggarwal, Ganga activist.
Aggarwal, a retired professor from IIT-Kanpur, has now taken 'sanyas' and has become Swami Gyan Swarup. He insists this is a do-or-die quest to free Maa Ganga from the multitude of problems choking her.
Even the fish that were once abundant in the Ganga are now depleted. Scientist Dr Prakash Nautiyal, who has been studying the Mahaseer, is worried about the rapid decline of the Mahaseer fish.
"I can give you example of Lantana. It spreads and it spreads in disturbed ecosystems. And similarly in water, invasive species will be coming up here. There may be more cat fishes and more scavengers which will roam in these waters," said Nautiyal, a fish scientist from Garhwal University.
However, to bring back more fish to the Ganga, the government started captive breeding in fish ponds.
The Mahasheer has faced an almost 70 per cent decline in population. Now there is just hope that the Mahasheer of the Ganga is able to thrive once again in the waters.