DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 300123: Connect the dots and discover absence of River Governance

(Feature Image: Screen grab of video showing untreated effluents being discharged in Yamuna river downstream Wazirabad barrage in National Capital Delhi, on Jan. 29, 2023). Credit: Santosh Kumar, Principal Correspondent, Amar Ujala, Delhi)

There are number of interesting rivers related stories from India this week as listed in SANDRP’s weekly Bulletin dated January 30, 2023. Let us consider three and try to see the underlying absence of attention to a crucial issue about Rivers. The three stories (see details below) include an editorial in Telegraph about river pollution, interview by director general of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Govt of India’s flagship program on rivers since 2014-15 and reports about a new committee formed by the National Green Tribunal about Yamuna. NMCG DG accepts some problems in earlier approach to rejuvenation including faulty DPRs and lack of proper planning, but promises all is well now and the river will have no pollution by 2025. The new committee for Yamuna pollution set up by NGT has similarly announced new deadlines for STPs etc. The editorial talks about high level of Ganga pollution, the wrong priorities of river linking and lack of attention of smaller rivers, among other aspects.

There are some welcome features in each of these three development. However, they are unlikely to help in improving the state or our rivers in any effective way. All of them are missing the most crucial aspect: Attention of governance of rivers and various component systems related to rivers. Can we achieve better state of our rivers without ensuring transparent, accountable and participatory governance of our rivers and rivers related systems? Why there is no attention or appetite for these issues right from media (the edit), the judiciary (NGT) and officials (DG NMCG)?

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