Ramon Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh, popularly known as and ‘Water Man of India’, on Sunday criticised the State Government for its negligence on Arkavathi and Kumudvathi river basins.
He said there is a ‘dire need’ for a policy to save these two rivers.
Singh, who is credited for having rejuvenated seven rivers in Rajasthan, was speaking to reporters after delivering a lecture on ‘Rejuvenation of Thirthakshetras’ at a programme organised by Uttaradi Mutt.
“I have visited Kumudvathi and Arkavathi basins many times. The situation is very bad due to mining, deforestation and changes in the agricultural pattern. The soil has degraded and there is no yield. The State Government has not shown any interest even after I drafted a policy for them,” he remarked.
He lamented the ‘indifference’ on the part of the Legislative Council members, who apparently committed to him that they would visit Rajasthan to learn how rivers were rejuvenated there.
“It has been more than a year since Deputy Chairperson of the Legislative Council Vimala Gowda agreed to visit Rajasthan. Meanwhile, their counterparts from Maharashtra have visited Rajasthan three times and have made a policy already,” he said.
When asked if he would no longer work towards rejuvenation of the Arkavathi-Kumudvathi basins, he said, “Mein har baar itna door se aata hoon.
Agar aap ke log kuch nahin karenge toh main kya karu? (I travel so far to come here. If your people do not show interest, what can I do?)” Earlier in his lecture, he placed the onus on pontiffs to come forward for the cause of rejuvenation of thirthas.
“Be it the Congress or BJP, they are the same. We cannot expect anything from them. We can only expect the seers to do something about this,” he observed.
‘Flaws in policy’
Commenting on the drought situation, Singh called upon the State Government to have a centralised water supply system which is driven by the community.
“There is no discipline in your State when it comes to water management. Also, drought is recurring as your development policy is flawed,” he remarked. He added frequent changes in agricultural pattern has resulted in severe shortage of water.
“In areas like Raichur, the pattern of agriculture was single crop, which could be done even without water. You have to strike a balance between the rights and responsibilities of the community,” said Singh.
Satyatma Tirtha Swamiji, seer of Uttaradi Math, a number of Math’s followers and devotees took part in the programme.