'Need policy to revive rivers, lakes'
Magsaysay awardee Rajendra Singh, popularly known as ‘Waterman of India’ asked the government to formulate a separate river policy with a view to protect and rejuvenate existing lakes and dead rivers.
Singh was addressing a press conference here on Thursday demanding attention to stop the hydel power projects being constructed along the Alaknanda river, a tributary of Ganga.
“The project will affect Ganga’s ecological environment flow. Let the government concentrate on alternative sources like solar and biogas instead of polluting rivers,” he said.
Commenting on the situation of rivers in the state and Arkavathy in particular, he said: “If we can revive seven rivers in Rajasthan, a parched and dry region, then we can do the same here. But, the government and people should work together.”
Singh, as part of ‘Jal-Jan-Joda’ initiative, handed over a draft policy for river rejuvenation to Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil on Wednesday.
About the policy specifics, he said, the government should take measures like demarcation of river basin, its flow, pollution control and underground water pollution, channeling treated water instead of diverting it to rivers, stopping sand mining and cultural rejuvenation of lakes and rivers. He accused the Prime Minister (Chairperson of National Ganga River Basin Authority) of not spending enough time on the authority’s objective and said the whole team needs to be revamped.
Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejavar Mutt requested the governments to stop the projects along Alaknanda river. He expressed solidarity with 81-year-old Gyan Swaroop Sanand Swamiji, who is on an indefinite fast demanding the protection of Ganga in general and the Dhari Devi near Srinagar in particular, which is likely to be displaced because of the power project.