Rivers converted into drains in Bengaluru, says environmentalist Rajendra Singh

Known as the Waterman of India, Singh sought better efforts are made to conserve the precious commodity.
Environmentalist Rajendra Singh
Environmentalist Rajendra Singh

BENGALURU:  Conservationist Rajendra Singh on Friday minced no words about the poor management of water resources in Bengaluru and sought to compare the technology-driven city with Rajasthan where, he said, better efforts are made to conserve the precious commodity.

Known as the Waterman of India, Singh said, "You have converted your rivers like Arkavathi and Kumudvathi into nalas (drains); we have converted our nalas into rivers."

Speaking on the topic ‘Dry land smiles in 1000 villages’ at the 10th Henry Volken Memorial Lecture in the city, he said, "Citizens here (in Bengaluru) are not protecting their water bodies. We have made our nalas rivers and that too in desert areas where water and rain is scarce. Here, you are naturally blessed."

Singh also compared the tree growth in Bengaluru and Alwar district of Rajasthan. "A 32-year-old tree in my area looks like an eight-year-old tree here. This is the blessing of nature here, but you are not protecting and appreciating what you have. When good children indulge in bad habits, it takes a lot of efforts to correct them and set things right. That is what is happening in Bengaluru. Despite all the engineering and technological inventions, natural resources are drastically depleting in this city and little is done to protect it," he said.

According to 2019 data, there are 365 drought-prone districts and 190 flood-prone districts in India. He said that this shows there is no dearth of water, but disaster has been created with technology and engineering.

"Despite having technologies for 300 years, European countries have not touched their underground aquifers (underground layers of water-bearing permeable rocks, rock fractures or unconsolidated materials), but India with 90 years of technology, 72 per cent of the underground water resources have been exploited and dried up," he said.

He added that modern education system is "futile" as it does not teach how to work for better tomorrow, "instead it teaches how to work for oneself, make more money".

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