Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has been given additional charge of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change following the sudden demise of Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave, 60, on Thursday morning.

“The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed that Dr Harsh Vardhan, Cabinet Minister shall be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in addition to his existing portfolios,” the President’s Office said in a statement. 

Harsh Vardhan, who is also minister for Earth Sciences, was given the additional charge after the sudden death of Dave in his official residence in New Delhi, today. The incident came to light at around 7.30 a.m., when his staff tried to wake him up.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the sudden demise of Dave, saying that it was a personal loss. “Absolutely shocked by the sudden demise of my friend and a very respected colleague, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Daveji. My condolences,” Modi tweeted.

“He will be remembered as a devoted public servant. He was tremendously passionate towards conserving the environment. I was with Anil Madhav Daveji till late last evening, discussing key policy issues. This demise is a personal loss,” he added.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also condoled the death of Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave saying that he will be remembered for his humble personality. “Shocked by his sudden demise,” Sonia Gandhi said in a statement. 

The Congress leader then said that Dave was a “soft spoken and gentle human being”. “He will be fondly remembered for his humble personality,” she said and  conveyed her condolences to members of Dave’s family, admirers and supporters.

Dave was born in Badnagar in Madhya Pradesh. He has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2009. He was sworn in as a Minister of State with independent charge of Environment, Forest and Climate change in 2016.

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