Need a holistic approach to save our rivers: Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

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Pune: The Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that there is need for a “holistic approach” to save our rivers otherwise our future generation will bear the brunt of water scarcity.

Presided over the opening session of DHARA 2023 (Driving Holistic Action for Urban Rivers) organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in Pune, the Minister said, the time has come to reflect what we have given the river back after several decades of using them for survival.

DHARA is the annual meeting of the members of the River Cities Alliance (RCA) and provides a platform for senior officials including Commissioners, Addl. Commissioners, Chief Engineers and Senior Planners of over 100 member-cities in India to co-learn and discuss solutions for managing local water resources.

He expressed his happiness on the fact that over 40 Municipal Commissioners are present today at the event and reflected on the importance of decentralized planning in effectively managing water resources.

 “Through the local bodies we can directly connect with the people, which is absolutely essential for the success of any programme concerning water.” he said.

Shekhawat said that the country is going through a crucial time and has completed the 75 years of independence.

He also said that technologically-driven change that has been witnessed in the past few decades make it all the more important for all of us to collectively work in the direction of making a ‘Viksit Bharat’ as envisioned by the Prime Minister.

“The world is looking at us because of our growth, especially since India has been handed over the G20 presidency,” he said.

He also said that caution has to be exercised in ensuring that our programmes on rivers do not get limited to infrastructure development but we must try and establish a robust people-river connection. “It is necessary to reestablish the respect for water, which went down from generation-to-generation as part of the traditional wisdom of our forefathers,” he said, adding, “It is time that we generate that sentiment in the younger generation by using social media, which is a powerful tool in the times we live.”

He added that the Ministry of Jal Shakti is working holistically for providing safe drinking water to every household, adding that India is among the countries with one of the biggest financial allocation to the water sector”

“We have to move ahead with a firm resolution and we will certainly achieve our targets,” he said.

Delivering the opening address,G. Asok Kumar, DG, NMCG said that Namami Gange Programme was launched to rejuvenate River Ganga and its tributaries.

He said that water was hardly a priority for municipal commissioners but under the Namami Gange Programme, they were urged to bring water into their main agenda and we have been successful in doing that.

“Namami Gange has been selected as one of the world’s top 10 flagship programmes from over 160 countries which is a testament of the success of Namami Gange Programme.” he said.

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