What seemed to be an inexhaustible treasure in God’s own country is now almost empty. Rain or shine, the Nila or Bharathapuzha, as it was popularly known in south Malabar, was a symbol of abundance and source of inspiration to thousands including children who used to throng its banks to write their first alphabets on the sand on Vijaya Dasami day.
Akber Ayub has summed up the fate of this once-majestic river in the following words: “In the gloaming, women gather on its banks carrying coloured plastic cans and wait for municipal water trucks…”
In his picturesque delineation of the river Nila Akber Ayub has alerted us to the damage caused to once vibrant rivers by our collective neglect, rapacity and callousness. The situation is no different in Tamil Nadu, where through neglect and mindless pollution we have made sewers of once useful rivers which provided drinking water.
To halt further deterioration we must have a State Rivers Authority with adequate budgetary support to ensure that no encroachments and indiscriminate sand mining are permitted. We as people also have a responsibility to see that our rivers do not run dry due to ur wanton neglect.C.P. Srinivasan