THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Water Resources Minister Mathew T Thomas has said the state would enact strong legislation for the conservation of rivers.“Our rivers are facing a dangerous situation. Encroachment and pollution are killing them. A strong legislation to conserve and protect the rivers will be enacted soon,” he said after inaugurating a public meeting as part of the flagging of the ‘Rally for Rivers’ campaign of Isha Foundation in the state on Tuesday. The minister said the government had already started various steps for the revival of water bodies. “As part of the Haritha Keralam Mission, around 10,000 ponds and thousands of canals were revived. The complete revival of dead Varattar river is an inspiration for the government and people for future endeavours,” he said. “Haritha Keralam Mission ensures the conservation of all water bodies, including rivers, canals, ponds, and wetlands. A massive awareness programme is also on the cards.”
The minister inaugurated the meeting by watering a vetiver plant using the water brought from Karamana river. Other dignitaries including Isha Foundation head Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Malayalam University Vice-Chancellor K Jayakumar and former Home Secretary L Radhakrishnan also joined him.
In his address, the Sadhguru said rivers were not mere water bodies but life line of the country. “At present there some scattered conservation efforts - by some individuals, organisations or government officials. But what we need is a comprehensive national policy for their protection,” he said. Sadhguru said the rivers in India were once home to about 1000 species of fish. “Now 15-20 percent of them have gone extinct. If insects, worms, birds and fish are slowly vanishing we should realise that we, humans, are next in the line,” he said.