Narmada could soon be counted as polluted river: Rajendra Singh

Bhopal, Dec 12 (IANS) Stockholm Water Prize winner Rajendra Singh has cautioned that if honest effort is not made to preserve the Narmada, the river will soon be counted among the polluted rivers in India.

Expressing concern over the reducing water level in the Narmada, Singh said the reduced water at the river’s origin at Amarkantak is an ill omen for the future.

Singh, known as the ‘Waterman of India’, was in Amarkantak to participate in the Madhya Pradesh government’s ‘Namami Devi Narmada Seva Yatra’, which started on Sunday to prevent further pollution of the river.

The well known water conservationist from Alwar district of Rajasthan told IANS that though it is a good step taken by the government, the campaign is not easy.

“The campaign will face many challenges, which will be difficult for the government to deal with. For example, in Amarkantak itself, influential people have violated rules. Whether the government will be able to deal with them is the big question,” he said.

Amarkantak is a pilgrim town in Anuppur in Madhya Pradesh. The region is a meeting point of the Vindhya and the Satpura Ranges. The Narmada, the Son and Johila rivers originate here.

Singh said much had changed in Amarkantak which he was revisiting after 12 years.

“Violations of law have increased and the river flow has decreased. I don’t understand why nothing has been done to stop these violations.”

Inaugurating the campaign, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that shops and houses situated near the river will be removed and owners allotted new places to live and operate from.

Lauding Chouhan’s as a “good step”, Rajendra Singh said the Chief Minister had failed to comment on influential people who have encroached huge land to build ‘ashrams’ beside the river.

Singh said the campaign will go on for 144 days, adding that there is a tendency among the governments to start campaigns and then forget them. “I sincerely hope this will not happen with this campaign.”

–IANS

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