Chain fasting in the city completes 111 days

Neha Basudkar
Sunday, 10 February 2019

People who joined the chain fasting are from Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Ambajogai, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Mumbai and Germany as well.

PUNE: Chain fasting carried out by environmentalists and concerned citizens of the city to save the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary from illicit tree cutting has completed 111 days on January 5. The completion of 111 days is important, as it marks the total number of days fasted by Prof GD Agarwal, who laid his life for the protection of river Ganga. 

Prof Agarwal laid his life for the protection of river Ganga. He fasted for 111 days and died sheerly due to the apathy of government towards his demands to save Ganga from destruction.

People joined the chain fast from Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Ambajogai, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Mumbai and Germany as well.

Dharamraj Patil, an ornithologist and environmentalist, who kept his fast on October 19, said, “This is a unique achievement by a group of citizens from all walks of life. Each person in the chain helped one local environmental cause on the day of the fast. That completes 111 local causes to protect the environment and forests. Therefore, all the 111 people have kept fast today.” 

Abha Bhagwat, an artist, who kept her fast on October 25, said, “This movement has grown to a great extent and people have started knowing about the causes. I am just an artist but when I joined the chain fasting, I got to know many things about the environment, which enlightened me and my art forms.”

Subhadha Lohiya, a resident of Ambajogai, who kept her fast on December 2, said, “We met Patil in 2011 during an environment project initiated by us. Recently, when he told us about the cause, me along with nine people of Ambajogai joined the chain fasting. Our aim is to just save the environment from any destructive activity”. 

Veerkumar Patil, a resident of Kolhapur, who kept his fast on November 15, had worked with 

Dharamraj on environment conservation causes several years back. 

Patil said, “My concern has been always putting a ban on plastic and using biodegradable products. When I got a chance to join the chain fasting group, I started awareness about the same in my city and now several people from my city already know about the cause and they are even optimistic about it.”

Besides honouring Prof Agrawal’s martyrdom, the fasting in the chain was also done in solidarity with Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Pune, Aarey Forest Goregaon, Mukundraj Valley of Ambajogai and rivers of various cities.

From October 18, on the occasion of Dussehra, a group of activists started a movement to highlight the current environmental issues around the locality, district, State, nation or around the world. 

It all started when Pune Municipal Corporation proposed to construct an 800-metre internal road, which is part of the 17-km Kharadi-Shivane Road, which created an uproar amongst the environmentalists when they learnt that some 167 trees of the sanctuary will be cut for the construction of the road. The activists started growing in numbers to support the cause and the local residents had been drawing attention to the issues by conducting cleanliness drives at the park. 

1. Conservation action for Dr Salim Ali Bird sanctuary Yerawada.
2. Support trees of Aarey, Goregaon. 
3. Awareness and pledge for protection of biodiversity of Mukundraj valley at Ambajogai, which is a biodiversity-rich area of that region. 
4. In solidarity with Mula Mula conservation. 
5. In support of Pavana and Indrayani rivers. 
6. Awareness action for forests of western ghats, which is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. 
7. Pledge for a chemical free living and awareness for the same. 
8. Solid waste minimisation pledge and action.
9. Use of art as a tool to make people aware about the environment.

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