‘River rejuvenation policy a must for every state’
Rain water harvesting should be made mandatory, says ‘waterman’ Dr. Rajendra Singh
Panaji: Providing continuous clean water is a responsibility of the state and the need of the hour is a river rejuvenation policy for every state. Dr. Rajendra Singh — popularly known as waterman of India and winner of several international awards, including the Ramon Magsaysay award — said here on Monday that all state governments must make it mandatory to have rain water harvesting techniques in government as well as private buildings and make roof water and surface harvesting mandatory.
Talking to journalists at an interactive session organised by Goa Union of Journalists, Dr. Singh said a three-day national conference on water conservation will be held at Bijapur, Karnataka, from August 16 to 18 under the auspices of Rashtriya Jalbiradari Yatra. As many as 101 activists working in the field of water conservation from across the country will be participating in the conference. They will also hold an awareness rally on water conservation in Bijapur “for drought-free India” on August 15.
Dr. Singh cautioned Goa and Karnataka against allowing the Mahadayi river water dispute to turn into another “Cauvery dispute”, and to resolve the issue amicably by applying norms of ecological and social justice.
Dr. Singh lamented that both the sides have converted the Mahadayi dispute into a political issue to be encashed during elections for politicians on either side.
“It is a created controversy by politicians and needs to be resolved on the basis of ecological and social justice,” he said.
On the issue of nationalisation of rivers in Goa, he said that it is nothing but a subtle plan to privatise the rivers for corporate interests.
“It is not nationalisation like that of banks. Rivers have their own character gene-pool and diversity,” Dr. Singh said and instead advocated what he called “communitisation or community-driven ownership of rivers”.
He also dismissed the river linking project as driven by interests of the international corporates, and called it impractical.