When the Chief Minister of Maharashtra told the state Assembly on July 21, 2015, “We pushed large dams, not irrigation” he had raised much hopes for the state with a fresh memory of worst ever dam scam and drought termed as “worse than 1972”.
For past many years, incidents of illegal river sand mining across the country are on the rise. Given its resultant and adverse impact on river system and dependent communities, various state and central governments continue to go through the motions of devising a mechanism for judicious excavation of this minor mineral. But there seems no will to achieve compliance. At the same the time, people and concerned groups affected by illegitimate riverbed mining practices are approaching judiciary seeking legal intervention to curb the unsustainable mining of the natural resource.
In this backdrop, continuing tracking of this issue (like in 2015) SANDRP is providing an overview of various aspects related abstraction of the finite grit material from the rivers through a three part blog series. The first part of the series presents description of the most of the illegal riverbed sand mining incidents that have taken place in different Indian States through the year 2016. The second part of the blog gives account of the measures taken by governments at States and Central level to check the pilferage of this natural resource. The third part will highlight on the legal interventions by respective courts including Honorable Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT) to regulate unscientific quarrying of riverbeds.
Above: Narmada at Khalghat Photo: Parineeta Dandekar
“Ahalya, you will be an eternal dry river. Your path will be rocky and parched. You will receive water only when you meet the pious Godavari. That will be your only redemption”.
Thus spoke Sage Gautam, pushing his wife Ahalya into a quagmire of dark desperation for ages. Ironically, it was Indra who, driven by lust, impersonated Sage Gautam and met Ahalya. In some versions of the story Gautam curses Ahalya into a stone slab, in some she becomes uncultivable, barren land. Till date, there exists a marriage custom in certain communities where the newly wed girl touches a dry stone by her feet.. it should remind her of her fate if she “strays” like Ahalya. But that is another story.
In the Western Ghats of Maharashtra where the Godavari rises, there is a tiny river called Ahalya meeting Godavari at the Trimbakeshwar Temple. If women and even Goddesses were made to suffer at the hands of patriarchy, how can rivers, the sacred feminine, be far behind?
(Above: Anupam ji speaking at the inaugural function of India Rivers Week 2016)
“I need to go and pay respect to the people fighting for India’s Rivers” insisted the weak Gandhian, barely able to walk, on Nov 28, 2016. In his speech at India Rivers Week inaugural function that day, an ever alert Anupam ji with his characteristic wry humor, said if changing stones and electric poles at the ghats, morning and evening prayers on loud speakers is all that the government had to offer to rejuvenate the Ganga, than no amount of faith or funds is going to help the river. We first need to understand from where the rivers are getting fresh and polluted water and see how we can sustain the former and stop the latter. Continue reading “Anupam ji: Aaj bhi kharen hai simplicity and quite hard work”→
Above: Menawali Ghat at Wai, Satara Dist (Photo: Sanket Deshpande)
The mighty Krishna River bears the name of Lord Krishna; the beloved dark and dusky lord worshipped throughout the country. Originating but a few kilometers from Arabian Sea, the river has chosen to flow towards Bay of Bengal becoming a lifeline of four states viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In its journey of thousands of kilometers and thousands of years, the river witnesses an amazing diversity in language, lifestyle, food and culture.
Maharashtra is blessed to be an upper riparian state in the Krishna Basin. Sahyadri ranges of Western Ghats falling in Maharashtra are abode to early flows of Krishna River. In Maharashtra the river is perceived in a feminine form called ‘Krishna Mai’ meaning ‘Mother Krishna’. The River Krishna is one of the important rivers flowing through Maharashtra and has a tremendous religious and cultural significance. Agriculture and economy of districts like Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur thrive on Krishna mainstream.
अत्यधिक दुखःद समाचार है कि अनुपम मिश्र जी नहीं रहे। 19 दिसंबर 2016 को प्रातः 05:27 पर दिल्ली के एम्स अस्पताल में उनका देहांत हो गया।
पानी के मुद्दों और भारत की नदियों पर स्पष्ट विचारों वाले, सरल किंतु प्रभावशाली भाषाशैली के धनी, अत्यंत उदार और विनम्र अनुपम जी समान व्यक्तित्व दुर्लभ है। जैसा रवि चोपड़ा जी ने कहा है वे सही में अनुपम थे।
अनुपम जी भारतीय नदी सप्ताह 2016 के आयोजन समिति के अध्यक्ष थे और वर्ष 2014 भगीरथी प्रयास सम्मान चुनाव समिति के सदस्य थे और वर्ष 2015 में इस समिति के अध्यक्ष बने।
खराब स्वास्थ्य के बावजूद वे भारतीय नदी सप्ताह की आयोजन समिति की बैठकों में वे लगातार उपस्थित रहें, अंतिम बार सितंबर 2016 की बैठक में वे मौजूद थे और भारतीय नदी सप्ताह 28 नवंबर 2016 के शुभांरभ के समय भी वे उपस्थित रहे , जहॉ पर हमेशा की तरह उन्होने अपना सरल, स्पष्ट किंतु मर्मस्पर्शी व्याख्यान दिया। वे शाररिक रूप से थके और कमजोर थे , इस सबके बावजूद वे आए जो पर्यावरण के प्रति उनके समर्पण की मिसाल है।
व्यक्तिगत तौर पर वे मेरे (हिमांशु ठक्कर) प्रति बहुत उदार थे और मुझे हमेशा प्रेरित करते रहते थे। हमने कभी भी नहीं सोचा था कि एक दिन हमें उनसे अलग होना पडेगा। उनके चले जाने से देश और पर्यावरण को हुई क्षति की भरपाई नामुमकिन है। परंतु उनकी प्रकृति शिक्षा और अनुभव उनके द्वारा रचित स्पष्ट, सरल और सारंगर्भित लेखों और पुस्तकों के माध्यम से हमेशा हमारा मार्गदर्शन करती रहेंगी।
किताबों के समान उनके व्याख्यान भी ज्ञान और अनुभव से भरे हुए प्ररेणास्रोत है। उनके दिखाए मार्ग पर आगे बढ़ते रहने के लिए, दुख की घड़ी में हम, उनके द्वारा भारतीय नदी दिवस (28-30 नवंबर 2016) में दिए गए उनके अंतिम व्याख्यान को, उन्हें श्रृद्धांजलि के तौर पर अर्पित करते हुए, आपके साथ सांझा कर रहे हैं ।
Above: Anupam Mishra ji at the inaugural session of India Rivers Week 2016
Very sad to say that Anupam Mishra ji is no more. He breathed his last at AIIMS, Delhi at 5.27 am today (Dec 19 2016).
A person with such clarity of thought on water and river issues of India, such effective and simple way of communication, so affectionate and yet so humble will be difficult to find. As Ravi Chopra says, he was truely ANUPAM.
He was chairman of organising committee of India Rivers Week 2016 and also member of of Bhagirath Prayas Samman Jury since inception in 2014 and chairman since 2015. In spite of his poor health and weak body, he came to our organising committee meeting several times, last one in Sept 2016 and also came to the inaugural session of IRW 2016 on Nov 28, 2016 and spoke with characteristic clarity and simplicity and yet effectiveness. He was completely exhausted and pain at the end of it, but that he came in spite of that showed his dedication to the cause.
Personally he was most affectionate and encouraging to me, for so many years. God only knows how can one think of losing someone like that.