LUCKNOW: Flagging off the five-day Ganga Yatra on Monday, UP CM Yogi Adityanath associated the mighty river with the faith and economy of the state, while Governor Anandi Ben Patel stressed on saving this lifeline of India and keeping it clean.
While the state governor flagged off the yatra in the eastern district of Ballia, the CM launched it in the western district of Bijnor. During its 2550-km journey across India, the Ganga covers the maximum distance – 1155 km – in Uttar Pradesh. The two districts were chosen to flag off the five-day Yatra from Jan 27 -31 as the river enters the state in Bijnor and leaves UP in Ballia for neighbouring Bihar. The yatra will conclude in Kanpur on January 31.
This yatra will pass through 27 districts -- comprising 26 parliamentary segments and 87 assembly segments -- of Uttar Pradesh during the next five days.
"We have to keep the Ganga clean and free-flowing at any cost. If you actually respect river Ganga as your mother, then do your duty towards it. Be prepared for making the Ganga clean," said CM Yogi while flagging off the yatra in Bijnor.
The CM said it was a matter of great concern and disappointment to see the river in such a bad shape in Kanpur. “This has hurt both the faith and the economy of the state. So the real challenge is to clean it up in Kanpur where a huge amount of industrial waste is draining into it,” he said, reassuring farmers of over a thousand villages along the river. He said the state government would take every step to help the farmers of the Gangetic plains grow further and prosper.
He claimed that if Ganga could be cleaned up in Kanpur, then all the other rivers of the country could be clean. Similarly, the Delhi government would have to take the resolve to make the Yamuna clean.
Explaining its relevance as the lifeline for central India, the CM said the fertile Gangetic plains were feeding the nation. “The state government is taking every possible step to ensure the cleanliness of the Ganga. Public participation is also essential in this resolve. We have to prevent dirty drains from falling into the Ganga through the cities and villages. If we work with commitment by setting goals, then Ganga will become an example in the country and the world," he said.
Earlier, the CM performed Ganga Aarti at Bijnor Barrage. Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan, Union Minister VK Singh, Cabinet Ministers Suresh Rana, Kapil Dev Aggarwal, Baldev Singh Aulakh were present during the inauguration of the programme. At the other end of the state, Governor Anandiben Patel named PM Narendra Modi as the ‘Bhagirath’ of this age. "Prime Minister Modi has taken up the task of cleaning the rivers. We have also been successful to a great extent in cleaning the country's rivers,” she said.
The Governor also said the Ganga Yatra initiative would sensitize people about the significance of a clean river which was linked to the economy directly. “This initiative will inspire the farmers for organic farming along the rivers helping their personal growth and bolstering the economy as a whole,” she said.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi also joined the UP Governor in flagging off the Yatra from Ballia. He said the river Ganga is the link between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. India is the only country in the world where rivers are worshipped. The Ganga is the mother of not only Hindus but also Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, he said.
Union minister Mahendra Nath Pandey and UP Jal Shakti Minister Mahendra Singh were also present.