The Outcome of Round Table Conference on Agony of Ganga

The conference was jointly organized by Ganga Sewa Mission, HSCF and IIC. Nearly 100 persons participated in the two days conference. These included the political leaders, senior retired civil servant, Ganga activists, experts and Ganga devotees. The conference discussed the issues related to comprehensive planning for the Ganga River Basin, the urban governance for prevention of pollution in Ganga and need for water conservation in agriculture and other usage to reduce the diversion of water from Ganga for canals and water supply schemes.

The main recommendations of the Round Table Conference:

1. The draft water policy 2010 should make categorical declaration of “Water and Rivers to be treated as Public Good and all usage to be guided by this policy directive.

2. Ensuring the optimum flow in the Ganga river in all seasons including lean season is the first essential step to achieve the objective of aviral and nirmal Ganga. In this regard, besides other constitutional provisions and various judgments of the courts, he national government should keep as its reference the
commitment made in 1916 to Ganga movement by the British Government. The NGRBA and the IITs consortium should place before the nation a comprehensive plan to achieve this objective. It should clearly outline the quantum of flow to be ensured at the point of different barrages and dams on Ganga river from Tehri to varanasi to ensure this objective.

3. Immediate decision should be taken by the NGRBA on the steps to prevent the dam building orgy in the different streams of Ganga in Uttrakhand, based on the report submitted by WII and other similar reports. This should also include the cost benefit analysis and social audit of the ecological damage to the Himalayas and displacement caused due to current dam building orgy in Uttrakahnd since Tehri Dam. In case the conclusions of the Government appointed committee are not acceptable to save ganga movement, it will decide the steps required to press its case further.

4. At the same time, a review commission should be organized jointly by civil society and sant samaj to suggest steps for revenue increasing opportunities for Uttrakhand state and ways and means of ensuring appropriate development and basic infrastructure to achieve the aspirations of people of Uttrakhand.

5. The NGRBA should ensue the rigorous monitoring and implementation of all the programs funded by it for prevention of pollution to Ganga river. The buck should not be passed on to the State Governments and the municipalities. This is in accordance with the terms of reference of the NGRBA.

6. The GAP-1, GAP-2, JNNURM and NGRBA failures should be seriously reviewed. Wherever, serious corruption charges have been made against state governments and urban local bodies, these should be investigated by appropriate agencies including CBI, if required.

7. The present suggestions by the IITs for PPP models for tertiary treatment of sewers should be debated and appropriate place should be given to the decentralized treatment system in the city sanitation plans. The nallahs diversion schemes should also be reviewed and all water bodies including nallahas should
be protected.

Next Steps:

The Save Ganga movements on various platforms should put their act together to educate the nation of the various aspects of Ganga river, the caused of its present tragic state, the merits and demerits of various options being proposed and current and future potential options. The Ganga Sewa Mission, the Chisthi Foundation, and the other participants in the conference took a resolved to continue working for the mission of saving the Ganga river. In this context, Ganga Sewa Mission makes a declaration of ‘Ganga Awahanam’ to under take a program of national awakening for the Ganga river.

The outlines of the program are as follows:

1. A preparatory phase from 23rd July to 23rd August 2012: This will be organized in many centres- Hardwar, Delhi, Meerut-Garhmukteshwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, and Patna. Besides that, Chennai, Banglore and Bombay will also participate. In all these centres, educational and dissemination activities, will be undertaken in schools, colleges and Universities and with the media.

2. First step in this direction will be undertaken in Kanpur on 23rd July, the day of Nagpanchami, by Swami Gangaputra Anandswaroop, Arun Kumar PaniBaba, Pirzada Rais Miyan Chishti, Soli Sorabjee, MC Gupta , L.K. Joshi, Dr. Onkar Mittal, AtalBehari Sharma, Dr. Ashok Singh-Kashi Raj Parivar, Trilochan Shastri, Birendra Singh Pal, Devendra Kanthola, and Dr. Bhagwati Prasad Purohit

3. The Ganga Sewa Mission also calls upon the countrymen, especially the political, bureaucratic and academic intelligentsia to do deep introspection of how all of us have been instrumental in contributing to the present tragic state of Ganga river. An internal process of penance through giving up of some of the
modern amenities enjoyed by us, which are contributing factors to the destruction of Ganges, like use of bottled water, use of plastic bags , use of air-conditioners, will facilitate this process of deeper introspection and reflection.

4. To initiate the process of collective penance, yagya, anushthan and other ritualistic activities will be launched from 23rd August onwards.

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2 thoughts on “The Outcome of Round Table Conference on Agony of Ganga

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