India, EU sign MoU to clean rivers

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) India and the European Union (EU) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Water Partnership to clean Indian rivers with European assistance.

“I have seen in Europe how beautifully water is flowing there. I hope our country would learn from it,” Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said at an MoU signing ceremony at World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) here.

The MoU was signed by Bharti and Karmenu Vella, Commissioner Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission.

“This MoU will not solve everything (water related issues) in India but it is a step forward for solving those problems,” Vella said, adding that EU would lend technical and resources support to India for river protection and water management.

Pointing out the sixth goal of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — Clean Water and Sanitation — Uma Bharti spoke of a pan-India river protection plan.

“The holy rivers of India are getting exhausted of their existence… making out country under water stressed… participatory approach with several stakeholders is required,” Bharti said.

Citing the central government’s National Mission for Clean Ganga, Uma Bharti said that focus on other rivers is also required.

“Water pollution must stop and Centre will take strict actions to assure that,” she said.