People gather on the banks of river Ganga to pay obeisance in Haridwar. (File | PTI)
People gather on the banks of river Ganga to pay obeisance in Haridwar. (File | PTI)

Uttarakhand to get water policy after 19 years of formation

The irrigation department completed a draft policy last month, and will present in the Cabinet meeting of the Trivendra Singh-led BJP government.

DEHRADUN: Nearly two decades after Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, the government has decided to frame a water policy for the state from where north India’s lifelines Ganga and Yamuna originate.

The irrigation department completed a draft policy last month, and will present in the Cabinet meeting of the Trivendra Singh-led BJP government. “The policy is aimed at reviving springs and conserving water resources and the Himalayas. Soon, the draft will be placed in a Cabinet meeting for approval,” said Madan Kaushik, Cabinet minister.

Primarily a Himalayan state, Uttarakhand has seen many traditional water sources such as rivulets, canals, waterfalls and springs dry up due to various factors such as deforestation and altering rain patterns. In 2016, a report prepared by NGOs stated that over 12,000 natural springs have dried up in the state.

Padma Shri awardee Anil Prakash Joshi welcomed the development even though it came 19 years after the state’s formation. “This is about water, the most precious resource on this planet. We are a blessed state with Himalayan glaciers and numerous glacial rivers along with springs, rivulets, canals and waterfalls. We need to conserve water and its sources so that coming generations do not suffer,” he said.

“The policy seems fine but only after reading the complete draft, we will know about it. I hope the policy and its implementation will address the need for conservation of water and its sources,” Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR) executive director Vishal Singh said.  

Not just for hill state
Experts pointed out that water management is not only important for Uttarakhand but also for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Delhi among others.

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