‘Civil society must help in Ganga conservation’
Times of India – 22nd September, 2011
VARANASI: A programme of public interaction on contribution of the state and community towards the conservation of the Ganga was organised at Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth (MGKV) on Wednesday.
The basic objective of the meet was to discuss the issues related to the plight of the Ganga and to explore the best possible ways for its conservation. During the discussion, it was strongly felt that the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), constituted under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister to address the problems of the river, had failed to ensure the participation of the community in river cleaning and management. The participants believed that the problems of the river could not be addressed without the involvement of the local community.
Addressing the meeting, Rajendra Singh, the water activist and Magsaysay award winner, said corruption was at its peak and its magnitude could be seen in the name of river cleaning. Despite the investment of huge funds, the condition of the Ganga continued to deteriorate, he said. The civil society would have to come forward and bear the responsibility of river conservation. He also called upon the educational institutions to play their role by mobilising young minds for saving the Ganga. It was high time to form a network of Ganga Panchayats across the country at grass root level to save the National River, said Singh. He is also a member of NGRBA.
Speaking on the occasion another NGRBA member and professor of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) BD Tripathi highlighted the factors responsible for the plight of the Ganga. “In a nutshell, we can say that the three ‘R’s– reduced flow of water, reduced water carrying capacity of the river and reduced water quality– are the main problems that the Ganga is facing,” he said. Elaborating on his view, Tripathi said the flow of the river was reduced to a great extent due to construction of dams and uncontrolled extraction of river water for different purposes. The increasing siltation and human encroachments were responsible for the reduced water carrying capacity while the increasing pollution load was reducing the water quality of the river, he said.
Tripathi also suggested solutions to the problem. “The problems of the Ganga can be addressed properly by adopting the concept of three ‘P’s– policy, proper planning and preventive technology,” he said and added the woes of the river could not be tackled in absence of a policy and proper planning. “The application of need-based preventive technology was also essential to save the Ganga,” he said.
The MGKV vice-chancellor Prithvish Nag presided over the inaugural function. Nag, former director of the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation, made a presentation on the Ganga through maps. The inaugural session was followed by open discussion session, participated by local boatmen community and representatives of various organisations including the National Service Scheme (NSS) of MGKV, Gangaputra Jankalyan Samiti, Sajha Sanskriti Manch, Sarva Seva Sangh, Ganga Jal Biradari.
A pamphlet on ‘Rashtriya Nadi Ganga Par Jan Samvad’ was also circulated among the participants. It was demanded that the government should ensure community participation in Ganga management programmes at all levels. The main features of the draft of Ganga policy were also highlighted during the discussion.