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आज भी खरे है तालाब……..

आज तालाबों से कट गया समाज, उसे चलाने वाला प्रशासन तालाब की सफाई और साद निकालने का काम एक समस्या की तरह देखता है और वह इस समस्या को हल करने के बदले तरह-तरह के बहाने खोजता है। उसके नए हिसाब से यह काम खर्चीला है। कई कलेक्टरों ने समय-समय पर अपने क्षेत्रा में तालाबों से मिट्टी नहीं निकाल पाने का एक बड़ा कारण यही बताया है कि इसका खर्च इतना ज्यादा है कि उससे तो नया तालाब बनाना सस्ता पड़ेगा। पुराने तालाब साफ नहीं करवाए गए और नए तो कभी बने ही नहीं। साद तालाबों में नही, नए समाज के माथे में भर गई है।
तालाब में पानी आता है, पानी जाता है। इस आवक-जावक का पूरे तालाब पर असर पड़ता है। वर्षा की तेज बूंदों से आगौर की मिट्टी धुलती है तो आगर में मिट्टी घुलती है। पाल की मिट्टी कटती है तो आगर में मिट्टी भरती है। तालाब के स्वरूप के बिगड़ने का यह खेल नियमित चलता रहता है। इसलिए तालाब बनाने वाले लोग, तालाब बनाने वाला समाज तालाब के स्वरूप को बिगड़ने से बचाने का खेल भी उतने ही नियमपूर्वक खेलता रहा हैं। जो तालाब देखते ही देखते पिछले पचास-सौ बरस में नष्ट कर दिए गए हैं, उन तालाबों ने नियम से खेले गए खेलों के कारण ही कुछ सैकड़ों बरसों तक समाज का खेल ठीक से चलाया था। पहली बार पानी भरा नहीं कि तालाब की रखवाली का, रख-रखाव का काम शुरू हो जाता था। यह आसान नहीं था। पर समाज को देश के इस कोने से उस कोने तक हजारों तालबों को ठीक-ठाक बनाए रखना था, इसलिए उसने इस कठिन काम को हर जगह इतना व्यवस्थित बना लिया था कि यह सब बिलकुल सहज ढंग से होता रहता था। आगौर में कदम रखा नहीं कि रख-रखाव का पहला काम देखने को मिल जाएगा। देश के कई क्षेत्रों में तालाब का आगौर प्रारंभ होते ही उसकी सूचना देने के लिए पत्थर के सुंदर स्तंभ लगे मिलते हैं। स्तंभ को देखकर समझ लें कि अब आप तालाब के आगौर में खड़े हैं, यहीं से पानी तालाब में भरेगा। इसलिए इस जगह को साफ-सुथरा रखना है। जूते आदि पहन कर आगौर में नहीं आना है, दिशा मैदान आदि की बात दूर, यहां थूकना तक मना रहा है। ‘जूते पहन कर आना मना है’, ‘थूकना मना है’ जैसे बोर्ड नहीं ठोंके जाते थे पर सभी लोग बस स्तंभ देखकर इन बातों का पूरा-पूरा ध्यान रखते थे। आगर के पानी की साफ-सफाई और शु(ता बनाए रखने का काम भी पहले दिन से ही शुरू हो जाता था। नए बने तालाब में जिस दिन पानी भरता, उस दिन समारोह के साथ उसमें जीव-जंतु लाकर छोड़े जाते थे। कहीं-कहीं जीवित प्राणियों के साथ सामथ्र्य के अनुसार चांदी या सोने तक के जीव-जन्तु विसर्जित किए जाते थे। छत्तीसगढ़ के रायपुर शहर में अभी कोई पचास-पचपन बरस पहले तक तालाब में सोने की नथ पहनाकर कछुए छोड़े गए थे।
पहले वर्ष में कुछ विशेष प्रकार की वनस्पति भी डाली जाती थी। अलग-अलग क्षेत्रा में इनका प्रकार बदलता था पर काम एक ही था- पानी को साफ रखना। मध्य प्रदेश में यह गदिया या चीला थी तो राजस्थान में कुमुदिनी, निर्मली या चाक्षुष। चाक्षुष से ही चाकसू शब्द बना है। कोई एक ऐसा दौर आया होगा कि तालाब के पानी की साफ-सफाई के लिए चाकसू पौधे का चलन खूब बढ़ गया होगा। आज के जयपुर के पास एक बड़े कस्बे का नाम चाकसू है। यह नामकरण शायद चाकसू पौधे के प्रति कृतज्ञता जताने के लिए किया गया हो। पाल पर पीपल, बरगद और गूलर के पेड़ लगाए जाते रहे हैं।
तालाब और इन पेड़ों के बीच उम्र को लेकर हमेशा होड़-सी दिखती थी। कौन ज्यादा टिकता है-पेड़ या तालाब? लेकिन यह प्रश्न प्रायः अनुत्तरित ही रहा है। दोनों को एक-दूसरे का लंबा संग इतना भाया है कि उपेक्षा के इस ताजे दौर में जो भी पहले गया, दूसरा शोक में उसके पीछे-पीछे चला गया है। पेड़ कटे हैं तो तालाब भी कुछ समय में सूखकर पट गया है और यदि पहले तालाब नष्ट हुआ है तो पेड़ भी बहुत दिन नहीं टिक पाए हैं। तालाबों पर आम भी खूब लगाया जाता रहा है, पर यह पाल पर कम, पाल के नीचे की जमीन में ज्यादा मिलता है। छत्तीसगढ़ क्षेत्रा में बहुत से तालाबों में शीतला माता का वास माना गया है और इसलिए ऐसे तालबों की पाल पर नीम के पेड़ जरूर लगाए जाते रहे हैं। बिना पेड़ की पाल की तुलना बिना मूर्ति के मंदिर से भी की गई है। बिहार और उत्तर प्रदेश के अनेक भागों में पाल पर अरहर के पेड़ भी लगाए जाते थे। इन्हीं इलाकों में नए बने तालाब की पाल पर कुछ समय तक सरसों की खली का धुआं किया जाता था ताकि नई पाल में चूहे आदि बिल बनाकर उसे कमजोर न कर दें। ये सब काम ऐसे हैं, जो तालाब बनने पर एक बार करने पड़ते हैं, या बहुत जरूरी हो गया तो एकाध बार और। लेकिन तालाब में हर वर्ष मिट्टी जमा होती है। इसलिए उसे हर वर्ष निकालते रहने का प्रबंध सुंदर नियमों में बांध कर रखा गया था। कहीं साद निकालने के कठिन श्रम को एक उत्सव, त्यौहार में बदल कर आनंद का अवसर बनाया गया था तो कहीं उसके लिए इतनी ठीक व्यवस्था कर दी गई कि जिस तरह वह चुपचाप तालाब के तल में आकर बैठती थी, उसी तरह चुपचाप उसे बाहर निकाल कर पाल पर जमा दिया जाता था। साद निकालने का समय अलग-अलग क्षेत्रों में मौसम को देखकर तय किया जाता रहा है। उस समय तालाब में पानी सबसे कम रहना चाहिए। गोवा और पश्चिम घाट के तटवर्ती क्षेत्रों में यह काम दीपावली के तुरंत बाद किया जाता है। उत्तर के बहुत बड़े भाग में नव वर्ष यानी चैत्रा से ठीक पहले, तो छत्तीसगढ़, उड़ीसा, बंगाल, बिहार और दक्षिण में बरसात आने से पहले खेत तैयार करते समय। आज तालाबों से कट गया समाज, उसे चलाने वाला प्रशासन तालाब की सफाई और साद निकालने का काम एक समस्या की तरह देखता है और वह इस समस्या को हल करने के बदले तरह-तरह के बहाने खोजता है। उसके नए हिसाब से यह काम खर्चीला है। कई कलेक्टरों ने समय-समय पर अपने क्षेत्रा में तालाबों से मिट्टी नहीं निकाल पाने का एक बड़ा कारण यही बताया है कि इसका खर्च इतना ज्यादा है कि उससे तो नया तालाब बनाना सस्ता पड़ेगा। पुराने तालाब साफ नहीं करवाए गए और नए तो कभी बने ही नहीं। साद तालाबों में नही, नए समाज के माथे में भर गई है। तब समाज का माथा साफ था। उसने साद को समस्या की तरह नहीं बल्कि तालाब के प्रसाद की तरह ग्रहण किया था। प्रसाद को ग्रहण करने के पात्रा थे किसान, कुम्हार और गृहस्थ। इस प्रसाद को लेने वाले किसान प्रति गाड़ी के हिसाब से मिट्टी काटते, अपनी गाड़ी भरते और इसे खेतों में पफैला कर उनका उपजाउफपन बनाए रखते। इस प्रसाद के बदले वे प्रति गाड़ी के हिसाब से कुछ नकद या पफसल का कुछ अंश ग्राम कोष में जमा करते थे। पिफर इस राशि से तालाबों की मरम्मत का काम होता था।
आज भी छत्तीसगढ़ में लद्दी निकालने का काम मुख्यतः किसान परिवार ही करते हैं। दूर-दूर तक साबुन पहुंच जाने के बाद भी कई घरों में लद्दी से सिर धोने और नहाने का चलन जारी है। बिहार में यह काम उड़ाही कहलाता है। उड़ाही समाज की सेवा है, श्रमदान है। गांव के हर घर से काम कर सकने वाले तालाब पर एकत्रा होते थे। हर घर दो से पांच मन मिट्टी निकालता था। काम के समय वही गुड़ का पानी बंटता था। पंचायत में एकत्रा हर्जाने की रकम का एक भाग उड़ा ही के संयोजन में खर्च होता था। दक्षिण में धर्मादा प्रथा थी। कहीं-कहीं इस काम के लिए गांव की भूमि का एक हिस्सा दान कर दिया जाता था और उसकी आमदनी सिपर्फ साद निकालने के लिए खर्च की जाती थी। ऐसी भूमि को कोडगे कहा जाता था। राज ओर समाज मिलकर कमर कस लें तो पिफर किसी काम में ढील कैसे आएगी। दक्षिण में तालाबों के रख-रखाव के मामले में राज और समाज का यह तालमेल खूब व्यवस्थित था। राज के खजाने से इस काम के लिए अनुदान मिलता था पर उसी के साथ हर गांव में इस काम के लिए एक अलग खजाना बन जाए, ऐसा भी इंतजाम था। हर गांव में कुछ भूमि, कुछ खेत या खेत का कुछ भाग तालाब की व्यवस्था के लिए अलग रख दिया जाता था। इस पर लगान नहीं लगता था। ऐसी भूमि मान्यम् कहलाती थी। मान्यम् से होने वाली बचत, आय या मिलने वाली पफसल तालाब से जुड़े तरह-तरह के कामों को करने वाले लोगों को दी जाती थी। जितनी तरह के काम, उतनी तरह के मान्यम्। जो काम जहां होना है, वहीं उसका प्रबंध किया जाता था, वहीं उसका खर्च जुटा लिया जाता था। अलौति मान्यम् से श्रमिकों के पारिश्रमिक की व्यवस्था की जाती थी। अणैंकरण मान्यम् पूरे वर्ष भर तालाब की देखरेख करने वालों के लिए था। इसी से उन परिवारों की जीविका भी चलती थी, जो तालाब की पाल पर पशुओं को जाने से रोकते थे। पाल की तरह तालाब के आगौर में भी पशुओं के आने-जाने पर रोक थी। इस काम में भी लोग साल भर लगे रहते थे। उनकी व्यवस्था बंदेला मान्यम् से की जाती थी।
तालाब से जुड़े खेतों में पफसल बुवाई से कटाई तक पशुओं को रोकना एक निश्चित अवधि तक चलने वाला काम था। यह भी बंदेला मान्यम् से पूरा होता था। इसे करने वाले पट्टी कहलाते थे। सिंचाई के समय नहर का डाट खोलना, समय पर पानी पहुंचाना एक अलग जिम्मेदारी थी। इस सेवा को नीरमुनक्क मान्यम् से पूरा किया जाता था। कहीं किसान पानी की बर्बादी तो नहीं कर रहे- इसे देखने वालों का वेतन कुलमकवल मान्यम् से मिलता था। तालाब में कितना पानी आया है, कितने ख्ेातों में क्या-क्या बोया गया है, किसे कितना पानी चाहिए- जैसे प्रश्न नीरघंटी या नीरुकुट्टी हल करते थे। यह पद दक्षिण में सिपर्फ हरिजन परिवार को मिलता था। तालाब का जल स्तर देखकर खेतों में उसके न्यायोचित बंटवारे के बारीक हिसाब-किताब की विलक्षण क्षमता नीरुकुट्टी को विरासत में मिलती थी। आज के कुछ नए समाजशास्त्रिायों का कहना है कि हरिजन परिवार को यह पद स्वार्थवश दिया जाता था। इन परिवारों के पास भूमि नहीं होती थी इसलिए भूमिवानों के खेतों में पानी के किसी भी विवाद में वे निष्पक्ष होकर काम कर सकते थे। यदि सिपर्फ भूमिहीन होना ही योग्यता का आधार था तो पिफर भूमिहीन ब्राह्मण तो सदा मिलते रह सकते थे। लेकिन इस बात को यहीं छोड़ें और पिफर लौटें मान्यम् पर। कई तालाबों का पानी सिंचाई के अलावा पीने के काम भी आता था। ऐसे तालाबों से घरों तक पानी लेकर आने वाले कहारों के लिए उरणी मान्यम् से वेतन जुटाया जाता था। उप्पार और वादी मान्यम् से तालाबों की साधारण टूट-पूफट ठीक की जाती थी। वायक्कल मान्यम् तालाब के अलावा उनसे निकली नहरों की देखभाल में खर्च होता था। पाल से लेकर नहरों तक पर पेड़ लगाए जाते थे और पूरे वर्ष भर उनकी सार-संभाल, कटाई, छंटाई आदि का काम चलता रहता था। यह सारी जिम्मेदारी मानल मान्यम् से पूरी की जाती थी।
खुलगा मान्यम् और पाटुल मान्यम् मरम्मत के अलावा क्षेत्रा में बनने वाले नए तालाबों की खुदाई में होने वाले खर्च संभालते थे। एक तालाब से जुड़े इतने

तरह के काम, इतनी सेवाएं वर्ष भर ठीक से चलती रहें- यह देखना भी एक तरह के काम, इतनी सेवाएं वर्ष भर ठीक से चलती रहें- यह देखना भी एक काम था। किस काम में कितने लोगों को लगाना है, कहां से कुछ को घटना है- यह सारा संयोजन करैमान्यम् से पूरा किया जाता था। इसे कुलम वेट्टु या कण्मोई वेट्टु भी कहते थे। दक्षिण का यह छोटा साधारण-सा वर्णन तालाब और उससे जुड़ी पूरी व्यवस्था की थाह नहीं ले सकता। यह तो अथाह है। ऐसी ही या इससे मिलती-जुलती व्यवस्थाएं सभी हिस्सों में, उत्तर में, पूरब-पश्चिम में भी रही ही होंगी। पर कुछ काम तो गुलामी के उस दौर में टूटे और पिफर विचित्रा आजाद के इस दौर में पूफटे समाज में यह सब बिखर गया। लेकिन गैंगजी कला जैसे लोग इस टूटे-पूफटे समाज में बिखर गई व्यवस्था को अपने ढंग से ठीक करने आते रहे हैं। नाम तो था गंगाजी पर पिफर न जाने कैसे वह गैंगजी हो गया। उनका नाम स्नेह, आत्मीयता के कारण बिगड़ा या घिसा होगा लेकिन उनके शहर को कुछ सौ साल से घेर कर खड़े आठ भव्य तालाब ठीक व्यवस्था के टूटे जाने के बाद धीरे-धीरे आ रही उपेक्षा के कारण घिसने, बिगड़ने लगे थे। अलग-अलग पीढ़ियों ने इन्हें अलग-अलग समय में बनाया था, पर आठ में से छह एक श्रृंखला में बांधे गए थे। इनका रख-रखाव भी उन पीढ़ियों ने श्रृंखला में बंध कर ही किया होगा। सार-संभाल की वह व्यवस्थित कड़ी पिफर कभी टूट गई। इस कड़ी के टूटने की आवाज गैंगजी के कान में कब पड़ी, पता नहीं। पर आज जो बड़े-बूढ़े पफलौदी शहर में हैं, वे गैंगजी की एक ही छवि याद रखे हैं: टूटी चप्पल पहने गैंगजी सुबह से शाम तक इन तालाबों का चक्कर लगाते थे। नहाने वाले घाटों पर, पानी लेने वाले घाटों पर कोई गंदगी पफैलाता दिखे तो उसे पिता जैसी डांट पिलाते थे। कभी वे पाल का तो कभी नेष्टा का निरीक्षण करते। कहां किस तालाब में कैसी मरम्मत चाहिए – इसकी मन ही मन सूची बनाते। इन तालाबों पर आने वाले बच्चों के साथ खुद खेलते और उन्हें तरह-तरह के खेल खिलाते। शहर को तीन तरपफ से घेरे खड़े तालाबों का एक चक्कर लगाने में कोई 3 घंटे लगते हैं। गैंगजी कभी पहले तालाब पर दिखते तो कभी आखिरी पर, कभी सुबह यहां मिलते तो दोपहर वहां और शाम न जाने
कहां। गैंगजी अपने आप तालाबों के रखवाले बन गए थे। वर्ष के अंत में एक समय ऐसा आता जब गैंगजी तालाबों के बदले शहर की गली-गली घूमते दिखते। साथ चलती बच्चों की फौज। हर घर का दरवाजा खुलने पर उन्हें बिना मांगे एक रुपया मिल जाता। बरसों से हरेक घर जानता था कि गैंगजी सिपर्फ एक रुपया मांगते हैं, न कम न ज्यादा। रुपये बटोरने का काम पूरा होते ही वे पूरे शहर के बच्चों को बटोरते। बच्चों के साथ ढेर सारी टोकरियां, तगाड़ियां, फावड़े, कुदाल भी जमा हो जाते। पिफर एक के बाद एक तालाब साफ होने लगता। साद निकाल कर पाल पर जमाई जाती। हरेक तालाब के नेष्टा का कचरा भी इसी तरह साफ किया जाता। एक तगाड़ी मिट्टी-कचरे के बदले हर बच्चे को दुअन्नी इनाम में मिलती। गैंगजी कल्ला कब से यह कर रहे थे- आज किसी को याद नहीं। बस इतना पता है कि यह काम सन् 55-56 तक चलता रहा। पिफर गैंगजी चले गए। शहर को वैसी किसी मृत्यु की याद नहीं। पूरा शहर शामिल था उनकी अंतिम यात्रा में। एक तालाब के नीचे ही बने घाट पर उनका अंतिम संस्कार हुआ। बाद में वहीं उनकी समाधि बनाई गई। जो तालाब बनाते थे, समाज उन्हें संत बना देता था। गैंगजी ने तालाब तो नहीं बनाया था। पहले बने तालाबों की रखवाली की थी। वे भी संत बन गए थे। पफलौदी में तालाबों की सफाई का खेल संत खिलवाता था तो जैसलमेर में यह खेल खुद राजा खेलता था। सभी को पहले से पता रहता था पिफर भी नगर-भर में डिंडोरा पिटता था। राजा की तरपफ से, वर्ष के अंतिम दिन, फाल्गुन कृष्ण चैदस को नगर के सबसे बड़े तालाब घड़सीसर पर ल्हास खेलने का बुलावा है। उस दिन राजा, उनका पूरा परिवार, दरबार, सेना और पूरी प्रजा कुदाल, फावड़े, तगाड़ियां लेकर घड़सीसर पर जमा होती। राजा तालाब की मिट्टी काट कर पहली तगाड़ी भरता और उसे खुद उठाकर पाल पर डालता। बस गाजे-बाजे के साथ ल्हास शुरु। पूरी प्रजा का खाना-पीना दरबार की तरपफ से होता। राजा और प्रजा सबके हाथ मिट्टी में सन जाते। राजा इतने तन्मय हो जाते कि उस दिन उनके कंधे से किसी का भी कंधा टकरा सकता था। जो दरबार में भी सुलभ नहीं, आज वही तालाब के दरवाजे पर, मिट्टी ढोर रहा है। राजा की सुरक्षा की व्यवस्था करने वाले, उनके अंगरक्षक भी मिट्टी काट रहे हैं, मिट्टी डाल रहे हैं। ऐसे ही एक ल्हास में जैसलमेर के राजा तेजसिंह पर हमला हुआ था। वे पाल पर ही मारे गए थे। लेकिन ल्हास खेलना बंद नहीं हुआ। यह चलता रहा, पफैलता रहा। मध्य प्रदेश के भील समाज में भी ल्हास खेला जाता है, गुजरात में भी ल्हास चलती है। वहां यह परंपरा तालाब से आगे बढ़ कर समाज के ऐसे किसी भी काम से जुड़ गई थी, जिसमें सबकी मदद चाहिए। सबके लिए सबकी मदद। इसी परंपरा से तालाब बनते थे, इसी से उनकी देखभाल होती थी। मिट्टी कटती थी, मिट्टी डलती थी समाज का खेल ल्हास के उल्हास से चलता था।


अनुपम मिश्र

लेखक प्रख्यात गांधीवादी विचारक एवं पर्यावरणविद् हैं। ‘आज भी खरे हैं तालाब’ इनकी बहुचर्चित पुस्तक है। संपर्क: गांधी शांति प्रतिष्ठान 223, दीनदयाल उपाध्याय मार्ग नई दिल्ली-110002 ;‘आज भी खरे हैं तालाब’ से साभार.


Rain or no rain ! By- Sunita Narain

 Drought

Drought

Last fortnight a dominant image on TV screens was drought. This fortnight, vast parts of the country drowned in water. An uncertain, unpredictable and variable monsoon is still impacting us. Late rain has delayed or jeopardized sowing; or intense rain has thrown life asunder and flowed away rapidly, creating months of (future) scarcity. Regional variations are huge, too. So there is drought in otherwise moist northeast and in paddy-growing Punjab and Haryana. A different monsoon, perhaps signalling the climate-changing times ahead.

Last fortnight, I said these changes had to be heeded for the future. We must learn, fast, how to reinvigorate our water policy keeping in mind the two big changes – more variable rainfall and desperately growing water needs. What do we do then?

Let me lay out elements of the future water policy: an agenda for change.

One, we need a water-knowledge mission with a difference. This mission, using the most sophisticated water measuring devices – satellites, groundwater sensors – must be targeted at informing the people affected by water-change. It must be designed so that information generated can be distributed, quickly, to each farmer or household. The world’s biggest weather forecasting system with the biggest communication footprint.

Two, a plan for water at each village, city and factory. Every village must have a map of its wells and know its water levels. What’s going on in the groundwater aquifer must be public and community knowledge. Villages must also have a drainage map, displayed on its panchayat or school hall, so that everybody is clear rain, when it comes, is treasured by being harvested. This will require big changes in the way we do things. At the moment, groundwater, which serves most of rural and urban India, is treated as a minor irrigation source. Little is invested into counting wells or, indeed, the levels and quality of well – water. It is the proverbial black-hole – extracted from, not valued.

The Central and state groundwater boards do measure depths of wells not in regular use. This method needs review. Also, this data is not public. The last I heard, computerizing groundwater data had become a horrific spend. Armed with World Bank money, the government launched a national programme to feed groundwater-levels data of each state into its new software, that a private vendor built. Out went the old system of recording data. The software did not work in some places, in others people were not trained to work it, the computers failed and finally the government and the vendor fell out over the costs of annual maintenance. Now the old data does not exist, and the new one cannot be tracked. This needs to be fixed. But this is still not good enough. In the age of variability there is no alternative to the alternative of turning each village water-literate.

Three, the village water security plan must become the basis of all future development expenditure. Substantial funds under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and rural drinking water programme need dovetailing into a five-year water security plan. Everyone likes to talk about a decentralized system for catching every drop of water. Now, we have to build it.

Four, we must work on demand, not be focused on supply. This is crucial. Currently, all government plans and proposals are mere mouthfuls about how much water we have. Most estimates are not worth the paper they are written on and miss the fact that, if indeed there is surplus, it is in the basins of the Ganga and Brahmaputra and so difficult to reach for the country, let alone those in their own backyards.

Let us be clear. Water needs to move out of the fossilized minds of engineers, who can only think of grand structures to augment supply. Water must become everybody’s business.

So, the fifth area is to rework water and waste management in our cities. Here is a real opportunity. Today, cities pull in water from further and further away. The cost of bringing water is high, distribution losses huge. The city can afford to supply to a few and not all, reinforcing a policy, and a cycle, of scarcity and augmentation. But turn the issue on its head. The issue is not supply, but distribution to all. If cities had a single agenda to ensure minimum water to all equally, it would drive policy –  they would meter each point of bulk supply, charge prices based on consumption and cost for treating sewage that comes out of every household. Once the rich in our cities begin to pay the ‘real’ costs of their consumption, policy would work to drive down costs, make water supply and distribution more affordable. This, in turn, would make the city value its local water bodies and groundwater recharge systems, for these would cut costs and losses of piping and pumping.

Six, the agenda has to be to reuse and recycle every drop of water. Instead of spending on expensive options, say turning seawater into drinking water, we should turn every litre of sewage and industrial effluent into usable water – treated for use in agriculture or treated even more to turn it into drinking water.

Finally, water – its scarcity, its availability and use – has to be a national obsession. I suggest the Prime Minister become the first water warrior: he cuts his own water use, harvests his own water, makes his bills public and does a public water audit of his own establishment. This begins the conversation with chief ministers, in a specially convened session of the national development council on water. The agenda should be single: how do we secure India’s water future. The answers should be driven and direct. We are running out of time, if not out of water.

By- Sunita Narain

Read this editorial online: http://www.downtoearth.org.in/cover_nl.asp?mode=1

Elections 2009: Where is the green party ? (By- Sunita Narain)

Whenever election to India’s Lok Sabha approaches, two questions tend to emerge: When will India get a green party? Are environmental issues important in our elections? The answers are interlinked; they relate to the nature of the Indian electoral system as well as the nature of India’s environmental concerns.

Our parliamentary democracy borrows its structure from the Westminster system of first-past-the-post, which makes it difficult for any pan-India issue-based party to succeed. For instance, it is no surprise there exists a Green Party in Germany that even comes to power within a coalition government, but cannot in UK. Some years ago, in elections to the European parliament, the UK Green Party got a substantial percentage of votes. In other words, there is a green concern in the UK, but because of UK’s electoral system, the concern cannot translate into a presence in Parliament.

Of course, it is also true, in Europe, the green agenda has been incorporated as a set of mainstream issues by all parties – Left, Right or centre. All parties, for instance, do accept the need to protect the environment, to mitigate emissions, necessary to tackle climate change and even agree to invest in low-carbon technologies such as renewables and hybrid vehicles. The challenge these governments face, once voted to power, is whether they can bite the bullet and make the structural alterations in their economy that climate change imperatives demand. This has been, and remains, Europe’s green Waterloo.

Consider, in this light, the conservative government of Germany’s Angela Merkel. The Christian Democratic Union took on the Green Party agenda so totally that it almost marginalized the latter. But now, when the government has to take some tough decisions about acting on climate change, on the one hand, and move fast on the economy and job-losses, its true anything-but-green colours are showing. The German government which once stood for matters green is now backtracking – it’s seeking emissions allowance for big industry, giving the automobile industry benefits in terms of subsidies to car owners to buy new vehicles, even lobbying hard for time for this industry to tighten fuel efficiency standards.

It is the same in the case of Australia, where, interestingly, the major political party, the Australian Labor Party, came to power saying it was against the environmentally-hostile policies of its opponent (the John Howard government). But now the Labor Party is in power, its actions on environment and climate change are even more pathetic than its predecessor’s. It is tough to walk the talk, when it comes to reinventing the economy for real change. It will be no surprise (it will definitely be disappointing) if Barack Obama finds he, too, has little room to make the changes he has so persuasively promised us all.

For us in India, the issue is similar, yet different. Green issues, including climate change, have made it to all major party manifestos. The Congress, the BJP and the CPI (M) all promise to protect the environment, check river pollution and invest in renewable energy systems for a low-carbon economy. There are even nuances and differences in approach. The BJP, for instance, says it will also protect the tiger and other wild animals through a permanent task force, while the CPI (M) says it will review the Environmental Impact Assessment draft notification, which is seen as industry-friendly. All pure green issues have been listed and there is a minimum common agreement on this matter.

Here, I have questions: are these so-called pure green issues really the core environmental issues that need to be addressed? Can these be addressed without tackling the key issues of growth and economic change? Such questions directly lead to the nature of India’s environmental concern. The fact is in our country, the bulk of the people depend on the environment – the land, the water, the forests – for their survival. The core environmental issue is to increase the productivity of these natural resources in a sustainable manner and to ensure the benefits of the increased productivity go to local people, so building a local economy and livelihood. It is about investing in the resources of the poor. It is about the political framework – the rough-and-tumble of governance – in which this investment will benefit people and build green futures.

We need to care about the pollution of our rivers because people depend on them for drinking water and for survival. We need to revise our strategy for development because these projects take away land, or forests, critical for livelihood security. We need to invest in decentralized water or energy systems so that we can minimize the damage to the local environment and provide access to resources to all, not some.

But this is where political party manifestos get frayed on the green-edge. It is easy to talk about green issues – particularly those the middle-class of India understands as green. But it is difficult to join the dots – to show how the country will green its economy itself, so that it can provide growth for all, without compromising on the present and the future generations.

Interestingly, but also predictably, no manifesto discusses how parties intend to deepen democracy in India – move it from the representative nature, which exists even in the Panchayati Raj system, to a participatory system. The green agenda demands that local communities must have rights over their resources and that participatory democracy – through the strengthening of gram sabhas, for instance – must work. The green agenda is a political agenda, not a technocratic laundry list.

This is why it is easy, here, to look like a green party but not promise a ‘green revolution’.

By- Sunita Narain

http://www.downtoearth.org.in/cover_nl.asp?mode=1

“Jan Jodo Ganga Yatra” Awareness Campaign Drive For ‘Conservation of the River Ganges’ from pollution and over extractions ! – Gangajal Nature Foundation, Mumbai.

This Campaign is starting on 5th March 2010 and will consist of “Gangajal” photographic exhibition, documentary shows, talks by experts on environment and arrangement of “Cleanliness Workshops” in various pilgrimage places, cities along the river Ganga covering a distance of 2500 kilometers..It will also include collecting and collating of data on the detrimental effects of Ganga river pollution on lives of the people living along the route of river Ganga. This data collection will be done by well-known water experts traveling by a river boat from  Haridwar to Gangasagar, Bay of  Bengal.

This Campaign will also compile all the information collected on Ganga River pollution and of video shooting done about the same. This compiled documentation and video shootings will be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office through the hands of Shri. Kumar Ketkar, Chief Editor of Loksatta (a Marathi Daily of Indian Express Group) as an effort of common people’s participation in the Government’s “Ganga River Cleaning Programme”. This thirty days Campaign by river, and road will be a gigantic effort by the Gangajal Foundation towards the prevention of pollution of the river Ganga. Many environment-connected NGOs along the shores of the river Ganga as well as various Maharashtra Mandals have expressed their interest in participating in this Campaign. Deterioration of the environment is the main as well as serious problem of the present age. However, ordinary people are unaware of it. Various problems like pollution, droughts, floods and problems of water and land are not natural but the culmination of careless and self-centered attitude of human beings. Its bad effects will be experienced by the present generation and the generations to come. Gangajal Foundation is trying to awaken all people about this serious situation.

Drainage in Ganga at Bellurmath, Kolkata
Drainage in Ganga at Bellurmath, Kolkata

One ardent lover of nature and photography read an article called “Bhagirath Teri Ganga Maili” (Bhagirath’s dirty river Ganga) in the book “Himyatri” (Traveller in the Snow) by well famous nature-writer Sureshchandra Warghade. This inspired him to travel, understand and photograph the state of the river Ganga by travel ling from Gomukh Gangotri to Bay of Bengal along the river Ganga. This river is the symbol of life for Indians. As well they have eternal faith in the sacred nature of the river. This photographer also executed this task in the period of 2001 to 2006. He had only one aim: “To awaken the people about the pollution of the river Ganga which is considered very sacred by the Indians and to make them participate in increasing the efforts to stop this pollution and improve the cleanliness of the river”. This nature loving photographer is Shri.Vijay Mudshingikar. He is also the founder of Gangajal Foundation. When he did these trips, he was an ordinary worker in Crompton Greeves Company. These photography trips culminated into Gangajal Photography Exhibition which showed and brought to our notice how badly we are treating our sacred river Ganga, which occupies a position of Goddess in the minds of every Indian.

Nature-writer Shri. Sureshchandra Warghade in his article “Bhagirath Teri Ganga Maili” in the book Him-Yatri has shown strikingly how we Indians are polluting the river Ganga which has such a pious place in the minds of Indians. He has also shown how we are excessively using the water of the river Ganga for farming and how that is resulting in the deterioration in the quality of water of the river Ganga. When Shri.Mudshingikar read this article, he was suffering from slip-disc. Even ordinary tasks of walking, sitting and getting up were difficult for him. He recovered successfully only because of a surgery carried out by neuro-spinal surgeon Dr. Premanand Ramani. He could thereafter walk easily. This happened in October 1998. Three years after this operation, he started his project Gangajal in the year 2001. Taking care of his family responsibilities and his job, he completed step-by-step his project Gangajal in five years. He started from Gangasagar in the Bay of Bengal. He covered various festivals celebrated along the river Ganga. These included the Kavad Yatra, Kumbhmela at Allahabad, Dev-deepavali at Varanasi, Chat-pooja at Patna, Durga Festival at Kolkata, Gangasagar-yatra in West Bengal. He also studied the life of the people living in sixty eight big cities and hundred and fourteen small and large villages situated on the banks of the river Ganga. Forty percent of Indian farming is dependent on the waters of the river Ganga. From Haridwar to Kolkata, there are four hundred and fifty factories on the banks of the river Ganga. They pollute the river Ganga as much as or even more than the villages and cities along the river. All this was recorded by Shri.Mudshingikar with his camera. His Gangajal Photographic Exhibition beautifully and effectively depicts the river Ganga as seen in all seasons, snow-clad mountains, Gomukh- the origin of Ganga, area surrounding Ganga Mandir in Gangotri. Along with this beautiful depiction of River Ganga in Himalayas, it also depicts how the situation deteriorates rapidly as the River Ganga enters the human habitat.

The waters of river Ganga looking deep blue at Gomukh Gangotri becomes dirty deep black by the time the river

Sacred confluence of Ganga and Alaknanda at Devprayag.
Sacred confluence of Ganga and Alaknanda at Devprayag.

reaches Kolkata. While catching this and the natural beauty of the river Ganga in his photos, Shri. Mudshingikar shows very clearly the people’s faith (shraddha) about the river Ganga through his photos in the Gangajal Photography Exhibition. Out of his gratitude towards Dr. Premanand Ramani as well as Swamy Sunderanand and Raghuvir Singh, he has dedicated his Gangajal project to them. After completing his Gangajal Project, Shri. Mudshingikar approached lot of organisations for help towards this Gangajal Photo Exhibition, nobody offered him help. However his deep concern about river Ganga made him restless. Finally, Shri. Mudshingikar decided to take VRS (voluntary retirement from service) from the Crompton Greeves Company where he had been working for 25 years. He had to use Rs. three and half lakhs from the provident fund money that he received on voluntary retirement, for producing his photography exhibition.

LalitkalaThe first Gangajal Exhibition took place in the Gallery of Lalit Kala Academy in New Delhi on 13th August 2006. For the inauguration Dr. Premanand Ramani visited New Delhi from Mumbai. Shri. K.R. Subanna and famous photographer Shri. Avinash Pasricha were also present. During the inauguration speech, Dr. Ramani said that an ordinary person like Shri. Mudshingikar realised his responsibility towards the society and the country and this Photography Exhibition called Gangajal is its result. Many distinguished persons praised the efforts and the perseverance of Shri. Mudshingikar. Art lovers and nature lovers of Delhi supported the efforts of Shri. Mudshingikar by visiting the exhibition in large numbers. This boosted the confidence of Shri. Mudshingikar.

With the help of Loksatta (a Marathi Daily of Indian Express Group) Gangajal Exhibition was opened in the NCPA’s NCPA 3Piramal Gallery in the presence of Shri. Kumar Ketkar, Chief Editor of Loksatta, Swamy Sunderanand and famous nature-writer Shri. Sureshchandra Warghade. Shri. Kumar Ketkar said: “We have created a sacred feeling about the River Ganga and it has given birth to a great culture. However, we are destroying the same great culture. Really this culture is not only local culture but a great global wealth. Mudshingikar’s Gangajal Exhibition not only shows the sacredness of the river Ganga but also how badly we treat the same sacred river. Seeing this depiction, I feel ashamed instead of feeling proud of our Indian Culture”. Swamy Sunderanand said, “River Ganga is considered sacred by us Indians. But what is the state of river now? Sadhus (saints) themselves have established hotels along the shores of the river Ganga. The sewerage of the cities and pollutants of hundreds of factories are dumped in the river Ganga. Lots of NCPA 4trees are cut. The government is inactive in stopping all this. If it continues like this, the river Ganga will turn into a small nullah in the next fifty years.” Due to the publicity through the medium like Loksatta, a lot of art lovers and nature lovers from Mumbai and also from out of Mumbai areas like Dahanu, Virar as well as Karjat and Khopoli visited this Gangajal Exhibition. Art lovers were ecstatic looking at the photos of the beautiful river in the serene, inhabited areas of Himalayas and were equally disturbed by seeing its deterioration as it entered the human habitat.

With active support from Loksatta, this exhibition was also opened in the P.L.Deshpande Gallery of the Maharashtra Kala Academy by the then Cultural Minister Hon. Shri. Ashok Chavan (the present Chief Minister) and world-renowned photographer Sham Manchekar. The Honourable Minister praised the courageous project of Shri. Mudshingikar and his perseverance of pursuing the project to completion. There was also spontaneous response from the art lovers.

BNHS member Shri. Dilip Chawathe introduced Shri. Mudshingikar to Mumbai’s Ex-Mayor Shri. Ramesh Prabhoo. PLD 2Through this introduction, the third exhibition was inaugurated at the Gallery of the Prabhodhankar Sports Complex at Vile Parle by Shri. Ramesh Prabhoo and famous photographer Shri. Shrikant Malushte on 22nd April 2007. A lot of students from various schools and colleges in Vile Parle visited the exhibition. They (the students) were happy  that their knowledge about environment increased. The parents and the teachers of the students said that there should be a similar project about the rivers in Maharashtra. The then Deputy Chief Minister Hon. Shri. R.R. Patil visited this photographic exhibition and he praised the efforts done by Maharashtrian people for the preservation and improvement of the rivers outside Maharashtra. Famous actor Shri. Vikram Gokhale and famous writer Shri. Vishwas Patil also visited this exhibition.

PLDGanga lover Shri. Prabhakar Soman from Kalyan visited the exhibition held at Piramal Art Gallery of N.C.P.A. This visit left a lasting impression on him. He wanted this Gangajal Exhibition to be held in Kalyan also. In that context, he introduced Shri. Mudshingikar to Shri. Kaka Hardas, famous nature photographer and social worker from Kalyan. As a result of this, the Gangajal Exhibition was opened on 25th May 2007 in the hall of Yadnyavalkya Organisation by Shri. Kaka Hardas. Art loving and nature loving people from Kalyan gave an active support to the exhibition. In addition, Shri. Mudshingikar got the guidance and friendship of an able person like Shri. Kaka Hardas.

Through the help of Shri. Kaka Hardas, another exhibition was held in the Everest Hall in Dombivali on the World Environment Day 5th June 2007 and was inaugurated by Ex-Mayor Shri. Abasaheb Patwari and Professor Surendra Vajpayee. People of Dombivali genuinely appreciated the photographic exhibition and opined that there is a real need of generating awareness and involvement in nature protection and water conservation through such exhibitions.

Up till now, Shri. Mudshingikar was organising the exhibition through the help of his many friends. In this work, a lot of PTKS 4times, Dr. Premanand Ramani extended help. With his guidance and the help of Shri. Kaka Hardas, this project by nature “crazy” photographer was converted on 10th September, 2007 into Gangajal Nature Foundation, Mumbai as an environment- connected Public Registered Society.

As a part of celebration of the “International Water Year 2007”, Anatomy Department and Body Donation Committee of Grant Medical College together arranged the Gangajal Photography Exhibition and Gangajal Documentaries at Grant Medical College, Byculla, Mumbai on 29th September 2007. This was inaugurated by Dr. Sarode, Deputy Dean of Sir J.J. Hospital. Deputy Commissioner Shri. Dhanraj Vanjari was the Chief Guest. He said that Indian Hindu Culture developed on the banks of the Indian rivers and therefore, preservation and protection of rivers is the protection of our culture. Dr. Sarode said that public cleanliness is connected with our mind’s well being and therefore we must keep our mind clean. Similarly, Body Donation Committee’s member and social worker Shri. Umakant Sawant said body donation is a sacred gift. Every year thousands of dead bodies are immersed in the river Ganga. That is increasing the pollution of the river Ganga. Instead if these bodies are donated to various medical colleges for student study, it will help the humanity. In body donation, Maharashtra is at second spot in India. However, it is essential that such mindset needs to develop in the northern states.

Drainage in Ganga at Varanasi
Drainage in Ganga at Varanasi

With the help of Shri. Rajesh Palshetkar, another Gangajal exhibition was organised in the Leprosy  Elimination Committee’s Get-together at Neregaon, Panvel on 20th January, 2008. The villagers and Leprosy affected brethren spontaneously supported this exhibition.

Gangajal – a photographic exhibition on the river Ganga was organized on 24th and 25th January 2008 at Nagindas Khandelwal College with the help of its Geography Department. It was inaugurated by Shri. Avinash Parikh, Secretary, Malad-Kandivali Education Trust, Principal Mrs. N.C.Josh and Vice-Principal Shri. V.G. Waradkar. There was a very good response to this exhibition. In two days, more than five thousand school and college students visited this exhibition. Coinciding with this exhibition, a seminar was organised. Large number of geography experts and environment experts attended this seminar. They praised the efforts behind this exhibition. The knowledgeable people remarked that this effort of the Foundation is of conservation of nature.

With the cooperation of Shri. Kantilal Mukund Deo, a social worker from Murbe village in Palghar Taluka (Dist. Thane)  an Ophthalmic Camp and Gangajal Photographic Exhibition were organised. These were inaugurated by Shri. Rajendra Gavit, President, Pradesh Congress Adivasi Sangh, Shri. Jitendra Mer of Grampanchayat at Murbe and Dr. Yadav, Ophthalmic Surgeon. Many people from Palghar Taluka visited the exhibition. Many patients benefited from the Ophthalmic Camp.

The year 2007 was observed as International Year for water. On this occasion the Foundation organised a competition for photographs and documentaries with the theme “Water is life”. If we look into the history of mankind we realize that from ancient times human development took place in the regions where water was available. The availability of water along with other natural ingredients was the main attraction behind establishment of a human colony. In fact, water became life for humans. Hindu culture which became world famous developed around rivers  Sindhu (Indus) and Ganga. The river Ganga is known as life line of Indians. But the development was too fast to use the water in a planned manner or to preserve it properly. Due to this a time has come when these life giving rivers need to be brought back to life. Our nation with exploding population will certainly have to face a very serious water problem in near future.

Secular Ganga
Secular Ganga

With this background, Gangajal Foundation organised a different kind of competition so as to bring together various organizations and persons fighting on the issue of water. This was a competition for photographs and documentaries with the theme “Water is life”. There was a spontaneous response to this from all over India. First prize was given to Shri. Abhijit Bhattacharya from West Bengal, second prize to Shri. Ramesh Pednekar from Mumbai and the third to Shri. Partha Bose from West Bengal.

Prize distribution ceremony took place on 30th March 2008 at Rachana Sansad. At that time, there was also an exhibition of prize winning photographs and showing of the prize winning documentaries. Some selected noteworthy photographs of other participants were also exhibited. Respected Chief guests for this programme were world famous neuro-spinal surgeon Dr. Premanand Ramani, Pani-Mitra (Friend of Water) Shri. Avinash Kubal, Dr. Goldene Codrose, Education Officer for Maharashtra of World Wildlife Fund (W.W.F.) and Shri. Kaka Hardas, a famous photographer and social worker from Kalyan. Well-known photographers Shri. Shyam Manchekar, Shri. Datta Sawant and Shri. Vishwas Morye were the judges for photography section whereas Shri. Avadhoot Paralkar, Shri. Suresh Tondwalkar and Shri. Arun Gongade were the judges for the documentaries section.

The Foundation has been working towards the education of our society about preservation of rivers through the “Gangajal” Photographic Exhibition for the last two years. Until now fifty thousand citizens have visited the exhibition. The Foundation is also producing a short film “Gangajal” so as to reach a wider audience.  The Foundation hopes to broadcast this short film on Doordarshan and Discovery Channels. Filming of the first part covering the “Doli-Yatra” from Mukhwa to Gangotri was completed on 7th May 2008 on the auspicious occasion of Akshay Truteeya. The Foundation is planning to complete the short film series in the next two years. Shri. Kumar Ketkar, Chief Editor,

Kawaryatra, Haridwar
Kawaryatra, Haridwar

Loksatta (a Marathi Daily of Indian Express Group) is going to guide this project and cooperate in its production.

In north Bihar river Kosi changed its course after seventy years. Due to this hundreds of villages from fifteen different districts were inundated. Crops on about three hundred thousand hectares were destroyed. The loss is estimated to be in the range of Rs. eight hundred crores. Lakhs of people have lost their homes and many lost their lives.

Gangajal Nature Foundation took a decision to extend a helping hand to the flood affected people. The Foundation made an appeal directly to its members as well as on its website for help to these unfortunate people. Members responded by donating generously. Shri. Bapat Guruji of Gayatri Charitable Trust from Badlapur extended a hand of help. Essential items like clothes, beds sheets, footwear, biscuits, milk powder were collected.

It was not easy to take all these essential goods to the flood affected region. However, Shri. Achyut Marathe, Maharashtra Bhavan, Gaya, Shri. Ashok Soman, Maharshtra Mandal, Patna gave valuable help. It was with their help that a contact could be established with the District Collector Ashwini Thakre. The District Collector suggested that people from Saharsa District needed help urgently as they were worst affected by floods. She contacted Shri. R. Laxman, District Collector of Saharsa and arranged for security as well as administrative officers.

After this Shri. Vijay Mudshingikar, President, Gangajal Nature Foundation, Shri. Shyam Machekar, well-known

photographer, Shri. Sureshchandra Warghade, well-known nature writer and Dr. P.D. Kadam reached Patargarh in

Saharsa District on 15th October 2008. In the meantime, there was an angry reaction against Maharashtra Nav-Nirman Sena in Bihar due to its attack in Mumbai on Bihari Examinees. Despite this “Gangajal” was welcomed as it had come from Mumbai with a helping hand and there was no obstacle in the way of reaching the helpless, flood affected people. Everyone was also full of praise for the District Collector Ashwini Thakre. The Foundation took aid to the flood affected homes in villages of Golmapoorvi, Golmapaschim, Jamhar, Dhamolipoorvi, Bishanpur in Taluka Patargarh of District Saharsa. These villages had been severely hit by the natural calamity. According to Shri. Vijay Mudshingikar, the help given by Gangajal was a small portion of what was actually needed.

 Gangajal Foundation is working towards the twin objectives of nature preservation and social obligations with the help from many. International Water Day was observed on 22nd March 2007. On this day W.W.F., Australia published a list of ten most endangered rivers in the world in order to draw world’s attention. This list includes Ganga, which every Indian calls Goddess and Sindhu (Indus) which gave the name India to our country. Our ancestors taught us to worship these rivers as mothers as they are our life giving sources. However, today the condition of these rivers is so pathetic that we have to bring them back to life! We are ignoring the teachings of our ancestors and destroying nature for our selfish motives. Ganga which is worshipped by crores of Indians and which is a lifeline for fifty crore people has been included in the list of rivers which are about to vanish! Sewerage water from the towns as well as polluted chemicals for factories along the banks of Ganga flows into the river Ganga. All these years the river Ganga was  assimilating all these pollutants. However, now it is surely hurtling towards its own imminent death.

What is exactly the place of Ganga in the minds of us Indians? The river Ganga starts high up in Himalayas and finally meets Bay of Bengal near Kolkata. Just seeing this river, many crores of Indians instinctively join their hands in prayer. They consider water of Ganga as Amrut (Elixir of Life). We Indians strongly believe that “bathing in the river Ganga” and “drinking the water of river Ganga” opens the doors of heaven for us. One wonders why the same Indians allow the same sacred river to be destroyed.

We should allow these rivers to come back to life before it is too late. The best way to save the rivers is to bring pressure on politicians with the power of people who are united and force the politicians to pay attention to these  problems. Only people will be able to save all the rivers including Ganga-maiyya and other water bodies in our country. So the Foundation thinks it is its prime duty to educate and awaken the people.

We appeal to the generosity of charitable institutions as well as individuals to extend a helping hand to our nature preservation project “Save River Ganga”. If any individuals or institutions would like to participate in our project, they should contact “Gangajal Nature Foundation”.

Website: http://www.gangajal.org.in

E-mail: admin@gangajal.org.in

Surendra Mishra,

Managing Trustee,

Gangajal Nature Foundation, Mumbai

मरणासन्न नद्या आणि आपण !

मरणासन्न नद्या आणि आपण


गंगाजल‘ नेचर फौंडेशनच्या वर्धापनदिनी

नदिमित्रपुरस्काराने सन्मानीत श्री. अभिजीत घोरपडे यांनी पुरस्कार स्विकारल्यानंतर जे सादरीकरण केले तेव्हा छायाचित्रांच्या मध्यमातून सप्रमाण सिद्ध केलेले काही मुद्दे.



  1. मांजरा, तापी, गोदावरी, कृष्णा, पंचगंगा या नद्या नव्हे तर गटारं झाल्या आहेत.

  2. मेळघाटच्या जंगलातील नद्या सोडून महाराष्ट्रातील सर्व नद्या त्याच मार्गावर.

  3. या सर्वच नद्य्यांमध्ये मानवीविष्टा, घनकचरा आणि उद्योगांची घाण.

  4. श्रीमंतांकडून जास्त घाण, गरीबांचा कोंडमारा.

  5. इचलकरंजीकर कृष्णेचं चांगलं पाणी उचलून पंचगंगेच्या आधिच घाण असलेल्या पाण्यात प्रदुषीत पाण्याची भर घालतात.

  6. राज्यातल्या नगरपालिकांपाशी केवळ १% सांडपाणी शुद्ध करण्याची क्षमता तर महानगरपालिकापाशी केवळ १६% सांडपाणी शुद्ध करण्याची क्षमता. बाकी पाणी तसचं नद्यांमध्ये सोडलं जातं.

  7. नफा थोडा कमी करून पाणी शुद्ध करण्याची मोठ्या उद्योगांची तयारी नाही.

  8. पंचगंगेच्या किनारी मासेमारी करताना पुर्वी १५ ते २० प्रकारचे मासे मिळत, आता एकच प्रकारचा मासा मिळतो जो केवळ घाणपाण्यातच जगतो.

  9. शिवाजी विद्य्यापीठाच्या एका अहवालाप्रमाणे गेल्या दहा वर्षात विस प्रकारचे मासे नष्ट पावले.

  10. बेसुमार झाडं तोडली गेली.

  11. बहुतेक नद्या हिवाळ्यातच कोरड्या.

  12. पाण्यावरील तैलपदार्थ, आणि जलपर्णी मुळे पाण्यातील ऑक्सिजनचं प्रमाण फार कमी.

  13. नदीच्या वाळूवर (डांगर वाडीत) होणारा भाजीपाला आता होत नाही.

  14. वाळूचा बेसुमार उपसा होत असल्याने नदी पात्राची झिज त्यामूळे नद्यांवरील पुलांना धोका.

  15. नद्यांचं स्वरूप बारमाही ते हंगामी.

  16. भुजल पातळीत घट.

  17. अतिक्रमणांचा विळखा.

  18. पुराचंपाणी सर्व शहरात आणि मोठ्या गावात पसरतय.

  19. नदी पात्रातून लाटलेल्या जागांपेक्षा कितीतरी मोठ्ठ नुकसान.

  20. प्रदुषण नियंत्रण मंडळाने डोळ्यांवर कातडं ओढलं आहे.

  21. हे सर्व रोखण्यासाठी जनजागृती आणि निवडणूक आय़ोगा सारख्या बलशाली व सर्वसमावेषक यंत्रणेची गरज.

नरेन्द्र प्रभू


‘जोह्ड’ वाले राजेंद्र सिंहजी यांचे ‘गंगाजलच्या’ वार्षीक कार्यक्रमात व्याख्यान !

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“मिठी नदी सुध्दा गंगेसारखीच सुंदर होती. प्रत्येक नदीचं आपलं वेगळं सौंदर्य असतं. गंगा, यमुना असो की अन्य कोणतीही नदी, जैविक कचरा पचवण्याची तिची स्वतःची एक ताकद होती. आता माणसाने रसायन आणि धातूंच प्रदुषण केल्याने नदीची ताकद संपुष्टात आली आहे. पहिल्यांदा विचारांचं प्रदुषण दुर झालं पाहीजे. जाणिवपुर्वक प्रयत्न करून पाण्याला समजून त्यांचं संवर्धन केलं पाहीजे. नद्यांशी समाजमन जोडलं गेलं पाहीजे” असे उद् गार मँगसेसे पुरस्कार विजेते जलतज्ञ डॉ. रजेंद्र सिंह यानी काढले. ‘ गंगाजल फौंडेशन’ च्या राष्ट्रीय परितोषक वितरण समरंभात ते बोलत होते. १४४ नद्यांच्या खोर्‍यात प्रवास करून त्यांचा अभ्यास करताना आलेल्या अनुभवांचं कथन करत त्यांनी अनेक समस्यांवर प्रकाश टाकला.

गंगाजल फौंडेशनचं चित्र प्रदर्शन पाहून आपण मंत्रमुग्ध झालो अशी प्रतिक्रीया देताना उत्तरेकडून पुर्वेकडे वाहणार्‍या गंगेची काळजी पश्चिमेकडचं गंगाजल फौडेशन आणि विजय मुडशिंगीकर घेतात म्हणजे गंगा जीवनधारा आहे आणि ती संपुर्ण देशाला एका सुत्रात बांधते याचं प्रतिक आहे असं ते पुढे म्हणाले. या प्रसंगी श्री. अभिजीत घोरपडे यांना गंगाजल फौंडेशनचा ‘ नदी मित्र ” पुरस्कार देण्यात आला आणि ‘गंगाजल’ या वार्षिक पर्यावरण विशेषांकाचे प्रकाशन करण्यात आले.

-नरेद्र प्रभू

What a nice function it was at Rachana Sansad, Prabhadevi on the evening of 29th March!! We had Water man of India Dr. Rajendra Singh as Chief Guest. We had welknown writer, reporter Abhijit Ghorpade as Special Guest. We facilitated him by the title “Nadi Mitra” (Friend of Rivers). Then we had almost all the winners present with the judges of the compitition. And all this was accomanpanied by a nice audience of nature lovers spread across the city. All in all, we had a program we were dreaming of since last 6 months.

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WWF-India Reintroduces 131 Gharials into River Ganges

Dr. Parikshit Gautam, Director, Freshwater & Wetlands, WWF India with released gharial

Dr. Parikshit Gautam, Director, Freshwater & Wetlands, WWF-India with released gharial
© WWF-India

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January 29th and February 12th can be marked on WWF-India’s calendar as historical. In a task that was no shorter than being termed as herculean, WWF-India along with the UP State Forest Department reintroduced the Gharial into River Ganga at the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary (HWLS), U.P.

The status of the crocodilian species Gharial, Gavialis gangeticus has recently been revised by the IUCN to Critically Endangered. The surviving population is spread in less than half a dozen habitats eg-Ken, Son, Mahanadi, Chambal, Girwa and Ramganga. Estimates indicate that 1400 individuals survive in the wild. In order to address the conservation needs of this species, it is necessary to locate viable alternative habitats which supplement the extremely few habitats where the species currently occur.

The target reintroduction area was very well suited for the release. The site was selected after a survey conducted by the state forest department officials and WWF-India. The area has been inhabited by wild Gharials in fairly recent times. A female Gharial (3.63 m) inhabited this area as late as 1994. Another Gharial was rescued here in 2006-07 and released into the Ganges at a spot further up stream near Bijnor. Also, easily recognizable features of Gharial habitat like perennial stream with deep pools, undisturbed mid-river sand bars, high and steep sand banks for nesting, and multi-stream braided channels with stagnant eddy counter-currents occur in this stretch of the river. An awareness drive amongst the local communities was also conducted along the river bank to ensure community participation prior to reintroduction of these species into the Ganga.

Immediately below the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary, the Ganges River and its environs downstream to the Ganga Irrigation Barrage at Narora have been declared as a Ramsar Site with its own conservation implications. The area is currently the focus of a dolphin conservation programme of WWF-India which will definitely benefit Gharial conservation, monitoring and protection.

In Total 131 Gharials were released in a phased manner. These gharials were breed at the Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre at Lucknow and belonged to the 2005-2006 batch. They were in the age group of 2-3.8 years In the first phase 60 Gharials were released in which there were 18 males and 42 females. They measured approximately 1.20-1.68 m in length and weighed approximately 7-12 kg.

In the second phase 71 Gharials were released of which there were 19 males and 52 females. These weighed 7-16 kg and measured approximately 1.20-1.80 m in length. Intensive post-release monitoring is underway and it has been observed that these individuals have negotiated 10 kilometer downstream and 2.5 km upstream of the release site. These release programmes will be sustained for a number of years until a resident breeding population of Gharial is established at a favourable location in the river.

The objectives of the reintroduction will be achieved through people participation and regular monitoring of sections of the Ganga River and studying the response of the released Gharial in terms of ability to permanently adapt to the environment. Rescue operations for Gharial individuals will also be done, which could drift downstream of protected areas. The local communities have expressed support and solidarity for ensuring the return of the Gharial in this area. With the success of this project it is hoped that these species sees resurgence.

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Parikshit Gautam
Director, Freshwater & Wetlands,
WW- India,
E-mail: pgautam@wwfindia.net
T: +91 11 41504820

http://www.wwfindia.org/news_facts/?3060/WWF-India-Reintroduces-131-Gharials-into-River-Ganges

Gangajal Nature Foundation’s Photography & Documentary Competition ! गंगाजल नेचर फौंडेशनची छायाचित्र आणि महितीपट व निबंध स्पर्धा !

 गंगाजल नेचर फौंडेशनची छायाचित्र आणि महितीपट व निबंध स्पर्धा !

गंगाजल नेचर फौंडेशनची छायाचित्र आणि महितीपट व निबंध स्पर्धा !

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