Positive Rivers Stories 2017: Citizens Reconnecting with Rivers

On occasion of International Day of Action for Rivers 14 March 2018, SANDRP presents a compilation of positive rivers stories that took place in the year 2017. The report highlights the exemplary rivers restoration work done by communities, village Panchayats.  It also attempts to acknowledge remarkable on going protests and struggle by fisherfolks, villagers and river communities in rural areas to protect the lifelines from unsustainable development projects. The report also presents the interesting “River Marches” where citizens have come forward to take actions against the threats on rivers in Urban areas and encouraging “River Walks” helping citizens rediscover their bond with RIVERS. 

Tamil Nadu

Give us back our rivers On Oct. 28, 2017, over 250 residents along with environmentalists, activists and Civil Societies formed a human chain at Elliot’s beach, asking State Govt to protect the wetlands, rivers, environment in Ennore creek area from wilful destruction of govt agencies and industries. From kids to senior citizens – who were holding placards that explain the sorry state of Ennore Creek. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/residents-chennai-form-human-chain-save-ennore-creek-70724 (The News Minute, 29 Oct. 2017)

The Coastal Resource Centre and members of the Save Ennore campaign organized the human chain to raise awareness in the city ahead of the monsoons about the encroachments in Ennore Creek, a backwater located in Thiruvallur district. Residents from all 52 villages in Ennore, who have witnessed the ecology die a slow death, also joined the rally, hoping that the govt would react.

Industrial effluents from the thermal power stations here and domestic sewage from North Chennai have killed various fish species. More than 1000 acres of Kosasthalaiyar River’s backwaters have already been lost due to the deposition of fly ash by the Tangedco units. http://chennai.citizenmatters.in/chennai-human-chain-ennore-creek-encroachment-2862 (Citizen Matters, 30 Oct. 2017)

As per the online petition, ten Lakh Chennai residents are at higher risk of disastrous flooding because Govt of Tamil Nadu has allowed Kamarajar Port to convert 1000 acres of Ennore wetlands into industrial real estate. Chennai has barely recovered from the 2015 floods. Don’t let Chennai get flooded again.

You can also see You Tube video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI0vz5nQ3VU to know more about the issue. (You Tube, 28 Oct. 2017)


In Jan. 2018, in a remarkable protest echoing urgent need for protection of rivers, fisherfolk of Kosasthalai River on 03 Jan. 2018, launched a ‘Jal Satyagraha’ against Kamarajar Port project. The proposal would divert 1000 acres of creek area. It mainly comprises of river, wetlands, marshy areas on which fisher community depend for livelihood.

Raising their voice against the project with holding play cards that read “This is River, Not Land” they stood in waist-deep in waters to save Ennore Creek. Joining the protest, hundreds of residents also demanded the withdrawal of alleged fraudulent maps denying the existence of the Ennore Creek. The community has been fighting a lonely battle against the Tamil Nadu government accusing it of turning wetlands illegally into industrial real estate corridors. https://www.oneindia.com/india/chennai-fisherfolk-stage-jal-satyagraha-to-save-ennore-creek-2613088.html (One India, 04 Jan. 2018)

As per another news report more than 1100 acres of the Ennore Creek consisting of salt pans and Mangroves have already been converted into industrial infrastructure by various govt & private industries leading to an intense pollution of Kosasthalaiyar River. According to fisher folk encroachments of Ennore Creek have drastically altered hydrology, leading to flooding in upstream areas. Further encroachments will severely increase the risk of disastrous flooding for nearly 10 lakh people residing in Chennai & Tiruvallur districts. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2018/jan/04/tamil-nadu-fishermen-protest-as-kosasthalaiyar-pollution-put-them-in-waist-deep-trouble-1744077.html (The News Indian Express, 04 Jan. 2018)

Change in the crop pattern need of the hour: River Parliament This is very interesting. Would like to know more:

– Farmers participated in the river water parliament, constituted to find amicable solutions to water disputes, which met for the first time in Trichy on Oct 6.

– Rainwater should be harvested and river water should be utilised judiciously only when there is no other option

– the river water parliament was proposed for five rivers including Cauvery, Vaigai, Palaru, Thamirabarani, and Thenpennai by Retrieval of Tamil Nadu Rivers and Water Resources in July 2017. It attempts to emulate the success of efficient water management mechanism of Arvari river parliament in Alwar district of Rajasthan.

– Leading farmers in the state like Mahadhanapuram V Rajaram, C Nallasamy, and Puliyur A Nagarajan were appointed president, general secretary and secretary respectively of Cauvery river parliament on Friday. Further, the farmers have planned to sensitise those in their respective blocks and villages about the functions of water parliament. The second meeting of the river parliament to be attended by farmers from all southern states has been scheduled at Chennai on December 10

– Farmers demanded that the Tamil Nadu government pass a GO recognising such river parliaments which would enable farmers to amicably solve the disputes. “we would work for preventing encroachments along river banks and to regulate river sand mining,” Advocate D Gurusamy, convener of Retrieval of Tamil Nadu Rivers and Water Resources, said  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/change-in-crop-pattern-need-of-the-hour-river-parliament/articleshow/60978049.cms (The Times of India, 7 Oct. 2017)

People’s panel to study sand mining in Cauvery A group of farmers associations of Tamil Nadu in association with Rashtriya Jal Biradari (National Water Community) headed by renowned conservationist Rajendra Singh have planned to constitute a ‘people’s commission’ to study the ecological aspects and sand mining in the Cauvery river. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/peoples-panel-to-study-sand-mining-in-cauvery/article18643409.ece (The Hindu, 30 May 2017)

Artist convert riverbank waste into artwork Interesting Chennai-based artist Parvathi Nayar’s under DAMned Art Project attempts to study and eventually change Chennai’s relationship with its rivers. https://scroll.in/magazine/868719/chennais-complicated-relationship-with-its-dying-rivers-as-chronicled-by-artists (Scroll.In, 20 Feb. 2018)


Pune village keeps its river clean Sangrun village in Pune is unique not just for its location but also for the bold step the village has taken to make itself garbage and plastic free and keep its water resources free of pollution and waste. This bold step is indeed commendable at a time when both the Mutha river that flows from Sangrun to Pune and the Mula that joins it from the opposite direction to flow with it are polluted and unusable, both individually and at their confluence. Sangrun village at the confluence of Mose, Ambit and Mutha rivers has an interesting story, including how people fish in the rivers.  http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/cleanliness-broom-village-keeps-its-water-clean (India Water Portal, 7 Feb. 2017)

River March Activists call for ‘Jal Satyagraha’ to protest river exploitation Activists and members of River March a citizens group that has been fighting for the rejuvenation of Mumbai’s four rivers have decided to take to Jal Satyagraha in Poisar river. The group is protesting against the concretisation work on the river bed being carried out by the municipal corporation. Good to see the citizens’ actions to revive rivers in Mumbai.http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-activists-call-for-jal-satyagraha-to-protest-river-exploitation-2320149 (DNA, 12 Feb. 2017)

Thousands march to save Mumbai’s rivers More than ten thousand citizens across the city came together for the ‘River Utsav’ festival on Sunday to create awareness about the condition of rivers in the city. The quality of water that has been affected majorly due to pollution continues to be a cause of concern. Citizens were of the view that the need to address this issue and rejuvenate these rivers was of utmost priority.Way to go Mumbai! Hope concrete steps follow, but this enthusiasm itself is such a beautiful resource to build upon.http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-thousands-march-to-save-mumbai-s-rivers-2343573 (DNA, 6 March 2017)

Image result for mumbai river march images

River March removes 1.47-lakh kg garbage from Poisar riverRiver March a citizens’ group comprising more than 150 people, over five Sundays — from April 9 to April 30 removed 1.47 lakh kg of garbage from a stretch of the river at Kranti Nagar in Kandivli. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-group-spends-5-sundays-clearing-1-47-lakh-kg-garbage-from-poisar-river/story-J98he3jDVCUSd0vNsXKI5H.html (Hindustan Times, 24 June 2017)

Committee plans to revive 5 Pune rivers The Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival has led to the formation of Pune Nadi Sansad (Pune Rivers’ Committee) that plans to revive Mula, Mutha, Devnadi, Ramnadi and Pavana rivers. After a conference on Muthakaran and a workshop on upper Bhima river basin restoration during the festival this week, environment experts from 30 organizations set up the committee to look into issues related to the rivers. The committee will conduct an annual review in January and take stock of collective action every three months. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/committee-plans-to-revive-5-rivers/articleshow/56510140.cms (The Times of India, 5 Jan. 2017)

Greener Ganesh festival leaves Pune rivers less polluted Civic Agencies and Civil Societies in Pune to great extent have made citizens aware of pollution by idol immersion and positive results have started appearing. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/ganesh-festival-greener-than-last-year-pune-rivers-see-lesser-pollution-levels-4871937/ (The Indian Express, 3 Oct. 2017)

Pearl Farming The jewels of Pardi Kupi Pearl farming could be a profitable occupation for farmers residing on the banks of rivers. The story of a successful pearl farmer who does pearl farming in Wainganga river in Gadcharoli district is interesting.  The report and video is very impressive. This in fact could be another possible source of livelihood that is at risk when rivers are destroyed and when unsustainable sand mining happens as Sanjay the pearl farmer explains it in the report. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/jewels-pardi-kupi (India Water Portal, 3 Nov. 2017)


Panchayat bring a dying river back to life The Kuttamperoor stream connecting the Pampa and Achankovil rivers, had been a nearly stagnant, shrunken cesspool of dumped waste and weeds for more than a decade. Some weeks ago, it was resuscitated as a flowing river, thanks to the will of the Budhanur gram panchayat in Alappuzha district, and the commitment of 700 local men and women who worked to bring the river back to life under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

The Kuttamperoor was once a full 12 kilometres long and, at places, over 100 feet wide. The river originates from Achankovil at Ulunthi, near Mavelikkara, and flows through Ennackad, Budhanur, Kuttamperoor, Mannar, and Pandanad before merging with the Pampa at Nakkida near Parumala in Pathanamthitta district.

According to legend, it was originally a man-made canal on which wide-bodied vessels known as kettuvallams carried items of trade and daily requirement. The river irrigated 2,000 acres of paddy fields, and was the lifeline for thousands of people who lived on its banks. Country boats (palliyodams) once raced on it during the famous Aranmula boat race. The river was also a natural flood control channel between the Pampa and Achankovil.

The advent of modern transportation, coupled with urbanisation, began the process of the river’s slow death. The kettuvallams ceased to operate. Weeds overran the river, and the hotel industry and local residents converted it into a giant garbage bin. Three bridges were constructed across the river in a manner that severely restricted its flow. There was unchecked, illegal sand mining on the riverbed, its banks were dug up to mine clay for brick units, and there was rampant encroachment. Chemical fertilisers from fields and sewage from human settlements flowed into the river.

For over two decades, the Kuttamperoor lay neglected and abused and, by 2005, it had been reduced to a marshy, polluted cesspool perhaps 10-15 feet wide, with patchy water and almost no flow.

Kuttemperoor river was reduced to a narrow cesspool of festering diseases before de-silting began. (Vivek Nair / HT Photo )

The move to revive the river was proposed in 2013, and received a push after a dry spell in the region. A 700-strong local group of villagers, mostly women, have spent weeks wading through toxic waste, algae and risking deadly water-borne diseases to physically de-silt and clean the river. After 70 days of back-breaking effort, the results began to show. The 12-km long river now brims with water, the stench is gone and children are playing on its green banks once more. https://www.thebetterindia.com/98667/kerala-kuttemperoor-river-resuscitation/ (The Better India, 2 May 2017)

People’s movement brings back to life dead river Varattar In a corner of Kerala, efforts to revive a 9 km-long dead river came to a full circle, thanks to a massive people’s movement with the blessings of the state government.Varattar, a perennial freshwater source linking two rivers in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts, used to carry racing boats and cargo once. But the river has been dead for many years.

The demise reportedly caused by large scale sand mining and encroachment, coupled with deficient rainfall over the years. The result: perennial water shortage in the area. But when Kerala was hit by the century’s worst drought this year, it triggered a discussion on its possible revival and the need for water harvest initiatives.

A committee was formed at the local level to chart an action plan, where members cutting across political affiliations joined hands. The locals decided to make it into a people’s movement and mobilized money and resources solely from individual contributions. The government backed them up with ministers chipping in money from their pockets.The government is now thinking of taking the initiative to the next level by taking precautionary steps against losing the river again. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/3Oa9tjIDeI3fbg8shkkE1O/In-Kerala-a-peoples-movement-brings-back-to-life-dead-rive.html (Live Mint, 2 May 2017)

Meenachil river warriors shine Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi wins the Bhagirath Prayas Samman for its efforts to save Kerala’s Meenachil river from total destruction. The Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi was set up by a group of like-minded individuals concerned about the river and has, over the years, shown its serious commitment through activities on dealing with river pollution caused by industries.

The activities undertaken by the samithi include the celebration of river day, nadee sandesha yatra, litigations, street plays, documentaries and padayatras. Stakeholders involved include gram panchayats, zilla panchayats, department of local self-governance, college students and the community at large. Some of its innovative campaigns include ‘Give our Meenachil back’ and ‘We can bring our Meenachil back to life’”.

“The samithi’s work is exemplary for its unique ways in combining education, campaigns and local action, without any external funding, leading to local ownership and collaboration to achieve scale for change and tangible impact,” says the award citation. Till the government steps in to protect the Meenachil, the samithi is all geared up to re-establish the hydrological and ecological links of the river. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/meenachil-river-warriors-shine (India Water Portal, 14 Dec. 2017)

After 40 years, ‘Thampu’ returns, to save a river When director G. Aravindan reached Thirunavaya, on the banks of the Bharathapuzha, four decades ago with a group of actors and circus artists, the river was not on its death bed. With its clear waters and stunning sandbanks, it formed a majestic setting for his National Award-winning documentary feature, Thampu (‘Circus Tent’). But today, with the river struggling for survival, the film’s ageing crew are planning a rescue.

“Now the Bharathapuzha has shrunk to a trickle. It doesn’t even meet drinking and irrigation needs. The village, too, has lost its sheen,’’ says actor V.K. Sreeraman, who made his debut with Thampu. It was while sharing his concerns with actor Nedumudi Venu, who also starred in the film, that an idea was born: to observe the 40th anniversary of its release as an occasion to explore ways of giving the river a new lease of life. During March first week, artists and technicians who worked on the film will throng the banks of the river, along with Aravindan’s friends and relatives.

It is so great to see that artists who were part of the film THAMPU, released 40 yrs ago and filmed along Bharathapuzha river, will return in March on the banks of the river “to discuss the revival”, River protection activists to join. They will also pay homage to Indyanur Gopi, who worked to save protect the river.http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/after-40-years-thampu-returns-to-save-a-river/article22413748.ece (The Hindu 10 January 2018)


Fishermen reject plans to make Goa a coal hub In May 2017, it seemed to be a national record of sorts as series of environmental clearance-related public hearings on whether the administration should permit the construction of facilities to allow large amounts of coal to be imported and transported through the coastal state, took eight days to complete after being extended by an unprecedented five days. The hearings are probably the longest in the history of environmental clearances in India. Thanks, indeed, Nihar Gokhale for this excellent report. Amazing that Nitin Gadkari opposed the public hearing, and good to know that SC overturned that decision and now so many people came forward to puncture holes in the fraudulent WAPCOS EIA and Public hearing was extended to RECORD EIGHT DAYS, unprecedented in India. https://scroll.in/article/837111/fishers-grandmas-students-priests-politicians-and-activists-reject-plans-to-make-goa-a-coal-hub (Scroll.in, 10 May 2017)

(Photo credit: Nihar Gokhale).
(Photo credit: Nihar Gokhale, Scroll).

Villages reiterate opposition to river nationalisation In a meeting in Salcete on in Nov 12, 4 Gram Sabhas of Raia, Guirdolim, Cavelossim and Navelim have unanimously opposed the nationalisation of 6 rivers from Goa and also the proposed development of Mormugao Port as the coal hub of Goa and all infrastructure development associated with that. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/4-villages-reiterate-opposition-to-river-nationalisation-/122519.html (Herald Goa, 13 Nov. 2017)

Before this, a group under the banner, ‘Our Rivers Our Rights’ petitioned PM Modi seeking his immediate intervention to remove all six Goan rivers from the National Waterways Act, 2016, thereby dropping the plan of river nationalization for Goa. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Group-petitions-PM-to-keep-Goa-out-of-river-nationalisation-project/122426.html (Herald Goa, 11 Nov 2017)

Gram sabhas fight back against coal pollution When the state Govt drew up plans to make the Mormugao Port a hub for importing coal and transporting it to steel factories in Karnataka, it ran into opposition it had never really expected. At the public hearings on the proposal, doctors, lawyers and scientists tore into officials with information and questions for which they had no real answers. This is detailed report on how Panchayats & Gram sabhas in Goa are fighting the coal transportation which is polluting the land, air, forest and rivers in the state. http://www.civilsocietyonline.com/cover-story/goas-gritty-gram-sabhas-give-it-back-on-coal-hub-river-rights-and-more/(Civil Society, Dec. 2017)


Fishermen protest against Bhadbhut dam on Narmada In Oct 2017, hundreds of Narmada fisherfolk opposed Bhadbhut dam on the Narmada river’s mouth in the Bay of Khambhat. Sailing into the river and shouting slogans, the fisherfolk were detained for five-and-a-half hours for demanding that there should not be any damming of the river at Bhadbhut, as they believed, it would destroy their prized catch, hisla, which breeds in brackish waters. 

The fishermen in the area have been protesting against the barrage since 2010. Raising these concerns, fishermen took out a boat protest with black flags against the PM laying foundation stone for the Bhadbhut dam in which over 100 boats participated. They all were arrested and released only after PM left. They were denied permission to hold protest walk.

Why Did Fishermen in Bharuch Wave Black Flags at Narendra Modi?
Fisherfolks protesting in Bharuch. (Image Credit: Damayantee Dhar, The Wire)

The Rs 4350 Cr dam would adversely affect over 12000 fisherfolk families, their livelihoods. The foundation stone of the project has been laid by PM Modi. It is worth to mention that  local community has not be consulted for the dam project. Neither there have been any environment and social impact assessment study by government. The new dam is claimed for mitigation of the impacts of upstream dams! It will actually store polluted water from urban and industrial areas and further destroy the estuarine ecosystems. https://www.counterview.net/2017/10/fisherfolk-show-black-flags-against.html (Counter View, 9 Oct. 2017) 

Sabarmati Water Walks- Part 2 The Water Walks initiative aims to introduce the urban dweller to the basics of the local water infrastructure, affording an insight into where does water come from, what happens to it and where does it finally end up. http://veditum.org/editorial/ahmedabad-city-water-walks-sabarmati-beyond-the-barrage/ (Veditum, 28 Feb. 2017)

Uttar Pradesh 

Yamuna Women rally in Agra to demand saving of Yamuna Hundreds of women gathered on Yamuna river bank to demand prompt and effective action to save the Yamuna river which they dubbed a symbol of womanhood. ‘River Connect’ campaign organised the event here on the International Women’s Day to draw attention to the deplorable condition of a “dying Yamuna”. Former Mayors Baby Rani and Anjula Singh Mahaur, several corporators, leaders from various political parties, animal rights activists, environmentalists and social activists joined in the Women’s Day celebrations at the river bank, and urged the state government to take effective steps to save the river. http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/women-rally-in-agra-to-demand-saving-of-yamuna-118030900011_1.html (Business Standard, 11 March 2018)

Feel the Yamuna, to save it: Muzaffar Ali In March 2017, the celebrated filmmaker and fashion designer Muzaffar Ali presented a ballet ” Yamuna Dariya Prem Ka”  to make people feel about the river.

It was a special  highlight at this year’s for ‘Jahan-e-Khusrau’, edition and Muzaffar Ali’s festival. The two 35-minute parts ballet brought to life the story of Yamuna, the main tributary of the Ganges. The ballet traced the journey of the river and what it goes through at different junctures.

We have always had the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, where cultures have assimilated. So we look at the Yamuna which has suffered neglect. There is a sense of helplessness in the people. They don’t know what they can do. I don’t know what we can do to save the river, but I know what we can do to feel it. If you can’t feel anything, why will you save it?” says Ali, who has taken the works of poets such as Amir Khusrau, Raskhan, Hazrat Raz Niyaz and others and woven them into the ballet. http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/course-and-correction-5082120/ (Indian Express, 1 March 2018)


Yamuna Walk bring citizens closer to river To experience the unexplored part of Yamuna, Delhi Walk Festival (DWF) organised a Flowing Yamuna Walk on November 11, 2017. The walk helped a delegation of concerned citizens feel the beautiful side of ‘stinking water course’ and offer gratitude for immeasurable and innumerable services, the ‘infamous river’ is providing to the ungrateful city. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/explore-a-living-stretch-of-dying-yamuna-at-the-threshold-of-delhi/ (SANDRP Word Press, 24 Nov. 2017)


West Bengal

Fishworkers demand inland fisheries policy In a positive initiative for rivers from West Bengal that too by fishing community, their representatives from 12 villages of Krishnaganj Block of the District of Nadia assembled at Majdiya Bazar on 29thDecember 2017. The meeting was convened to consider possibilities of protecting the livelihood of fishing communities through their own organisation. ‘Save Mathabhanga and Churni River Committee’ and ‘Chakdaha Science and Cultural Organisation’ took the main initiative in convening the meeting as well as in organising the participation of fishing community representatives. DMF supported the initiative. https://dc.icsf.net/en/component/dcnews/articledetail/10594.html (ICSF, 23 January 2018)


Village bans fishing in river stretch to save fauna In an interesting development a tiny village in West Khasi Hills banned fishing on a stretch of the Rilang river to preserve its fauna. The fish sanctuary near Rohbah village, about 130 km from here, has helped rejuvenate the fauna which has been depleting over the years. The initiative also got support from residents of 7-8 nearby villages through which the Rilang rolls down. The villagers say the fish sanctuary, established about five years ago, has helped increase yields of the river. http://www.india.com/news/agencies/mlaya-village-bans-fishing-on-river-stretch-to-preserve-fauna-2009566/ (India.com, 17 April 2017) 


GRPC restricts quarrying, electric pulse fishing along Gundung river The Gundung River Protection Committee (GRPC) has come up with stringent measures in an attempt to preserve and protect the Gundung river and its ecosystem. The committee said that as per the resolution adopted in a joint meeting of all village chiefs along the Gundung river labourers and the labourers working in the river at the residence of Mangkeng, (Chief of Sapormeina) on Aug. 13, various restrictions will be imposed on numerous activities in the river. It said that quarrying using JCB and electric pulse fishing on the Gundung river have been strictly prohibited with immediate effect and also warned the quarry labourers not to encroach or work near at the base of paddy field and the residential areas. http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=12..180817.aug17 (E Pao, 17 Aug. 2017)


For a better Bandi This is a motivating story of Mahavir Singh Sukarla’s struggle to make Bandi River pollution free. Three decades on, the Bandi continues to retain its status as a polluted river. By and large, industries go on with their polluting ways in complete disregard for the people and the resources. However, sustained vigilance from people like Sukarlai has made small gains which are so far not reversed. As Sukarlai continues working overtime to bring violators to justice, we hope that the river segment sees the government enforcement of pollution laws. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/better-bandi (India Water Portal, 1 Dec. 2017) Mahavir Singh received the Bhagirath Prayas Samman at India Rivers Day on Nov 29, 2017.

Madhya Pradesh

Banda People Also Protest Against Ken Betwa Link At a time when Central Government is trying to push Ken Betwa link project terming it as beneficial for both Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, local people of Banda are now also protesting against it, in addition to the people of Panna that are already opposing it. On Feb. 13, 2018, the Ken Bachao Samiti comprising of farmers, citizens and social workers in Banda sat on a Dharna before district magistrate office.

The group have also sent a memorandum to the President of India, demanding immediate cancelling of the project. Raising serious concerns over environmental and social of the linking project, they asked demanded proper impact assessment and public consultation and said the project wont be allowed to go forward. Indeed, as they have said, there has been no downstream impact assessment and people of Banda are likely to loose their river.  https://www.livehindustan.com/uttar-pradesh/banda/story-demonstrate-against-ken-betwa-alliance-1800951.html (Hindustan Hindi,13 Feb. 2018)

Celebration of songs of the rivers. It is so interesting to know that in Nov. 2017, there was first river festival organized at the Bharat Bhavan in Madhya Pradesh. https://www.patrika.com/bhopal-news/first-river-festival-sadaneera-at-bharat-bhawan-from-november-25-2027897/


Seechewal to spearhead ‘Ghaggar Bachao’ campaign With the authorities showing little resolve to address the problem of pollution in the Ghaggar, residents of Ratia in Fatehabad have launched a “Ghaggar Bachao, Zindagi Bachao” campaign under the guidance of environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal from April 6, 2017. As per the report, the 140 km-long Ghaggar, which flows from Himachal Pradesh and Punjab before it enters Fatehabad and Sirsa districts of Haryana, receives hazardous chemicals and other effluents along the way. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/community/seechewal-to-spearhead-ghaggar-bachao-campaign/386956.html (The Tribune, 2 April 2017) 


Activists oppose plan to inter link Indian rivers During a meeting experts criticized ambitious plans to bring much needed water to remote central India by linking two rivers, in the latest clash over dwindling water resources. Activists asked the Government to implement cheaper, more effective methods of irrigation, saying the environmental impact of interlinking rivers can be huge. According to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, about 65 million people were displaced in India by dams, highways and power plants between 1950 and 2005 and less than a fifth of them have been resettled. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-water-protests/environmentalists-oppose-plan-to-link-indian-rivers-idUSKCN18E21A (Reuters, 18 May 2017)

Ganga Walk

Walking along Ganga in Uttarakhand in 2017 This is detailed pictorial report by Siddararth Agarwal, of Veditum who have walked the entire length of Ganga from Ganga Sagar to Gomukh under Moving Upstream project. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/walking-along-ganga-in-uttarakhand-in-2017/ Sridhar Sudheer the co-walker in the Ganga journey also shared his experiences and beautiful postcards here. http://veditum.org/upstream/walking-stopping-painting-ganga/

India Rivers Day 2017

People working for rivers honored In an effort to draw wide attention towards country’s rivers, India Rivers Day (IRD) was organized in Delhi in Nov. 2017.  The theme for this year was ‘Rivers in the Urban Context’. During the event, Hon,ble Justice Madan B Lokur awarded the first ever Anupam Misra Memorial Award to Arti Kumar Rao for her remarkable work in highlighting the issue impacting riverine ecologies of Sundarbans and North East India rivers.   https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/2017-bps-awards-to-meenachal-samiti-in-kerala-mahaveer-singh-in-rajasthan-inaugural-anupam-mishra-medal-for-river-focussed-media-work-to-arati-rao/

On the occasion the panelist released Reviving Hindon River book by INTACH, State of India Rivers (another book as outcome of IRW 2016), a booklet containing river poems by INTACH and a calendar on Ken River by PSI. India Rivers Forum website. https://indiariversforum.org/ was launched. Since 2014 India Rivers Week (IRW) and IRD alternatively are being organized on annual basis. Leading river scientists, academicians, experts, activists and concerned organizations registered their presence in the program. INTACH, PSI, PEACE, SANDRP, Toxic Links and WWF India and YJA are the key organization behind the annual endeavor.

5 days long exhibition on India’s Urban Rivers As part of IRD 2017 celebrations, an exhibition based on the event theme was organized. It displayed photos related to various issues related to urban rivers. Please write to us at: indiariversweek2014@gmail.comand ht.sandrp@gmail.comif you would want to also display this exhibition in your city or institution. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/exhibition-on-indias-urban-rivers-at-india-rivers-day-2017/

Compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat, SANDRP (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

You may also like to see Rivers Review 2017 for other Indian States 

North India Rivers Review 2017: Pollution Poisoning Lifelines

Maharashtra Rivers Review 2017: Multi-colored Rivers!

West India Rivers Review 2017: Govts, Industries Destroy Rivers

South India Rivers Review 2017: More Water for Cities from Drying Rivers

Kerala Rivers Review 2017 : Government Efforts Fail To Protect Rivers

Tamil Nadu Rivers Review 2017: Despite Drought; Diversion of Rivers

East India Rivers Review 2017

North East India Rivers Review 2017: Agenda behind Brahmaputra & Barak Fesitvals won’t Help the Rivers

India Rivers Studies 2017: Rivers Succumbing To Dams, Pollution & Climate Change 

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