CHENNAI: Several experts from across the country came together on Saturday to discuss Isha Foundation’s ‘Cauvery Calling’ initiative, and its viability, at a seminar held at the Asian College of Journalism in association with the Coalition for Environmental Justice. Over 30 speakers expressed their views on the topic.
Mihir Shah, Chair, Committee to draft National Water Policy, Government of India, said that while the focus on the river brought about by Isha’s initiative was to be welcomed, a few other aspects were key to make it successful. The catchment area, he said, had a profound bearing on the health of the river and it does not begin in the one-kilometre range that is the focus of this initiative.
“The solution is to stop destructive activities in the catchment area,” he said. “Comprehensive location-specific catchment management plans, adopting the ‘ridge-to-valley’ approach to revive flows into the river and also reduce rates of siltation were essential,” he said.
Cauvery Calling aims to plant 242 crore trees to ‘revitalize’ the Cauvery in the twelve-year-long project.
Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Senior Fellow, Suri Sehgal Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, said, “A tree cover in a river that has already lost its flow, wowuld lead to a reverse problem of the trees actually intercepting the water that would have reached the river.”
Shrinivas Badiger, Fellow, Centre of Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research and Ecology, said that he had observed in a part of Mysore that the number of times the tanks were filled in places where plantation was done, had reduced to less than half.