Self-styled godman Namdeo Das Tyagi, popularly known as 'Computer Baba', formally took charge as the chairman of the 17-member Narmada River Trust under the Kamal Nath-led Madhya Pradesh government today and soon demanded that a helicopter be provided to him to conduct an aerial survey of the river.
The Congress government had appointed Mr Tyagi as the chairman of the "Ma Narmada, Ma Kshipra and Ma Mandakini Rivers Trust" in March this year.
He took charge today in the presence of state's religious affairs and spirituality department minister PC Sharma and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh.
"Now that I have been entrusted the headship of the trust, I want a helicopter as soon as possible for conducting an aerial survey of the Narmada River to ascertain the real state of the river considered the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh. The helicopter will enable me to also ascertain the state of trees planted on the riverbank during the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan government as well as the actual truth about the rampant sand mining in the river," he said.
The Computer Baba said the Trust will work for conservation of river Narmada as well as Mandakini and Kshipra Rivers, build a "Narmada Yuva Sena" of young volunteers from riverside villages to conserve the river and start a toll-free "Maa Narmada" helpline which will let people report about mining or any other illegal activities in the area.
Mr Tyagi was among five religious leaders accorded minister of state (MoS) status by the previous BJP-led government in 2018 for various religious and environmental causes, including working for Narmada river conservation. However, he resigned five months later, accusing then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of "not fulfilling" the promise of stopping illegal sand mining in the river Narmada.
Mr Tyagi then supported and campaigned for the Congress in 2018 assembly polls and 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He campaigned for Congress candidate from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat Digvijaya Singh, who lost by over 3.64 lakh votes to BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur in the national elections.