We don’t talk of sustainable development anymore: Prof GD Agrawal

The two-day conference on Incessant Ganga held discussions on drying river beds due to continuous sedimentation

swati

Swati Chandra | May 18, 2017 | New Delhi


#Jairam Ramesh   #Rajendra Singh   #sedimentation   #Incessant Ganga   #Narmada   #Narendra Modi   #Nitish Kumar   #Farakka Barrage   #Ganga  
Photo: incessantganga.com
Photo: incessantganga.com

Shortly after prime minister Narendra Modi vowed to save the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh, a two-day conference has been organised by the Bihar government in New Delhi to conserve and rejuvenate river Ganga. Eminent environmentalists, activists and religious leaders gathered at the first day of the event led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.  

The conference on ‘Incessant Ganga’ held discussions on sedimentation -- a colossal impediment to incessant flow of river Ganga. 
 
Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh, eminent environmentalist Professor GD Agrawal, and water activist Rajendra Singh were also present at the event. 
 
Experts criticised the Narendra Modi government for the excessive exploitation of Ganga and not understanding the river’s hydrology. Slamming the central government, GD Agrawal said, “There is a term called sustainable development, which has been missing from the past few years. We hear only of development, and not sustainable development. When you talk of Ganga you must understand the needs and rights of everyone -- including plants, animals and the river itself.”
 
Talking about the problem of siltation, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said, “Siltation is destroying Ganga's ecology and health. It is causing devastating floods in Bihar every year.” He urged for a countrywide policy on silt management and asked the centre to consider removing the Farakka barrage in West Bengal. 
 
Huge amounts of silt get deposited in 200-250 kms of the Ganga river bed because of the pressure from Farakka barrage. As a result the depth of the river in the area has decreased, which causes massive floods during the monsoon. It also causes adverse effects on the ecosystem. Disappearance of Hilsa, a fish found in Ganga, is one of the problems that fishermen face. The Farakka barrage was commissioned in 1975 and has a total of total 123 gates. But many of its gates have outlived their economic life and serviceability. “Only 60 gates are functional at present”, said the panelists at the event. Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh talked about the need to look at alternative solutions to solve the Farakka barrage problem.
 
Criticising the water highways project, waterman Rajendra Singh said that the government is ignoring river’s health in the name of development and inland transport. “Ganga has been reduced to ponds, canals and lakes in plains. Still the government is going to launch 16 new projects on the river… This kind of development will be an injustice for the society as well as for the nature,” he said.
 
 

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