The draft National Ganga Rights Act and Petition, prepared by Ganga Action Parivar under Pujya Swami Chidanandji’s leadership, can be found at www.gangarights.org. Be sure to visit and add your name in support of this important cause!
The National Ganga Rights Movement, which is being spearheaded by Ganga Action Parivar, is promoting the National Ganga Rights Act to protect and restore one of the world’s most precious and beloved river systems.
Mother Ganga is polluted by nearly 3 billion litres of sewage and chemical waste every day. Her rights are being violated, and in turn, our rights to clean water are being violated. People are getting sick. Children are dying. It’s time we say no more. Ganga has the right to flow in Her clean, pristine form. Ganga’s Rights are Our Rights.
Present environmental laws, which regulate the amount of allowable harm that may occur to ecosystems, have not proven adequate to protect India’s National River, which also sustains the lives of some 500 million Indians. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974, for example, calls for substantial jail time and fines for repeated polluters, yet pollution levels within the Ganga have grown progressively worse.
The proposed National Ganga Rights Act takes its precedence from other nations. Rights have been bestowed upon nature within the Constitution of Ecuador, have been granted to the Whanganui River in New Zealand, have been recognised for Mother Earth in Bolivia, and have been mandated within municipalities including Pittsburgh, USA.
The Act is necessary because laws decreeing the rights of nature also grant legal authority to residents and governments to enforce and defend those rights. These laws change the status of ecosystems from being regarded as property to being treated as rights-bearing entities.
Says Pujya Swamiji, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar, “If Ganga dies, India dies. If Ganga thrives, India thrives. In violating Her, we are violating basic human rights, and we are putting at risk the bright futures our children so greatly deserve. Now is the time for action. Let us all stand up and say, it’s time for the National Ganga Rights Act.”
The National Ganga Rights Act is proposed with the purposes of establishing, securing, and defending the inalienable and inherent rights of the Ganga River, its tributaries, and watershed, and the rights of the people of India to a healthy, thriving river basin. Further, the Act establishes the rights of the people of India and their governments to defend and enforce the rights of the Ganga.