RAIPUR: With the Indravati river, regarded as lifeline of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh, facing the worst ever crisis in its history, many locals including the tribals and activists embarked upon a two-week long padyatra (foot march) pledging to save the river.
Though a simple but in an effective way the people came together to launch the campaign for Indravati they fear might lose its present existence and consequently aggravate the deep water crisis in the region.
Everyday nearly 150 persons from cross section of the population join the movement — Indravati Bachao Janjagran Abhiyan (Mass awareness campaign to save Indravati) to express their solidarity.
One could gauge the emanating crisis when the Bastar’s iconic Chitrakoot waterfall in Jagdalpur (district headquarter of Bastar) which earned recognition as ‘small Niagara Falls’ gaining its magnificence owing to Indravati had recently turned as dry barren cliff top for a week.
Indravati originates at Mardiguda in Odisha’s Kalahandi district and enters village Bhejapadar in Jagdalpur where the foot march began on May 8 and it will continue till May 22 to culminate at Chitrakoot water falls.
Indravati covers 164 km before it enters Chhattisgarh’s Bastar. After traversing 265 km of Bastar zone traversing through the three districts of Jagdalpur-Dantewada-Bijapur the river enters Telangana state. “We have never seen such a situation where a Chitrakoot waterfalls gone dry.
The mission of padyatra is to demand immediate steps to save Indravati river. The Odisha government is indifferent to our plight and not releasing from the dam the requisite 42 TMC water as per the agreement singed in 1985 between the then chief ministers of Odisha and undivided Madhya Pradesh”, said Dharmendra Mahapatra, a senior journalist based in Bastar.
“The depletion of water level of Indravati is alarming. This has aggravated the water crisis for the region and those dependent on the river”, said Padma Shri Dharampal Saini, a Bastar resident leading the campaign.
The foot-march is also creating awareness on cleanliness, trees plantation on riverside and the environmental and economic benefits from the river for the society.
Those leading the foot-march included Padma Shri Dharampal Saini, Yogendra Pandey, Kishore Parekh, Sampat Jha, Dashrath Kashyap, Anand Mohan Mishra, Dharmendra Mahapatra, Manish Moolchandani, Anil Lunkad and Satyanarayan Pathak.
They are seeking Chhattisgarh government intervention to initiate discussions with the Odisha counterpart to get immediate resolution of the water crisis and prevent the situation getting worse.