A recent appraisal has found that there is no river in any of the top 50 cities in the country which is not sick or dying with river Yamuna in Delhi-Mathura-Agra and Ganga in Kanpur-Varanasi-Patna leading the list.
Widespread devastations in Uttarakhand (June 2013) and J&K (Sept 2014) and Assam-Meghalaya in North East (September 2014) bring home the fact that disturbed rivers can become dangerous and highly devastating.
Dams, diversions, bumper-to-bumper hydro projects, diverted natural flows, encroached flood plains, embanked river channels, degraded catchments, destruction of local water systems and pollution of various kinds are some of the reasons for the above.
The uncertainties associated with the phenomenon of climate change are predicted to further compromise the integrity of our rivers.
Lack of true understanding and appreciation – amongst planners, decision makers, various government departments as well as the common man – of rivers as ecological systems providing a number of ecological and economic services is a major reason for the sorry state of our rivers.
No wonder, there exists no national policy or law that could provide our rivers security from degradation and exploitation.
With an aim to remedy the above situation, a consortium of NGOs including WWF India, INTACH, SANDRP, Toxics Link and PEACE Institute Charitable Trust, are organizing with additional support from Arghyam (Bengaluru), International Rivers (Mumbai office), and Peoples Science Institute, Dehradun, the first ever India Rivers Week, 2014 as a national event in New Delhi from 24-27 of November 2014.
The venue for the Conference is the WWF India secretariat in Delhi. Sri Ramaswamy R. Iyer, former Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and a leading expert on rivers in the country is chairing the consortium partners.
Over 100 River experts, planners, researchers, artists, enthusiasts and activists from different parts of the country shall congregate in Delhi for 4 days to discuss, deliberate and exchange their experiences and ideas aimed at the restoration of rivers in the country.
With ‘Rivers in Crisis’ as the theme, the Conference shall endeavor amongst other things to devise a National Charter for Rivers, promote a National forum for restoration of rivers and reward an individual and an organization with remarkable track record of work on rivers with the “Bhagirath Prayas Samman”.
Advice and expertise from river experts and activists from different parts of the country has been solicited in form of a National Advisory Committee to make the event productive and successful.
For more details, contact:
Ramaswamy Iyer (9871075038; email@example.com ) Suresh Babu (WWF-India; 9818997999; firstname.lastname@example.org) Himanshu Thakkar (SANDRP; 9968242798; email@example.com) Manu Bhatnagar (INTACH; 9810036461; firstname.lastname@example.org) Ravi Agarwal (Toxics Link; 9810037355; email@example.com) Manoj Misra (PEACE Institute; 9910153601; firstname.lastname@example.org).