New Delhi: NITI Ayog, CEO, Amitabh Kant on Friday emphasised that more than data and numbers passion for rivers is required to rejuvenate them.
Kant said that rivers, particularly in India, are a symbol of faith, hope, culture and sanity as well as a source of livelihood for millions. Emphasizing on community participation he said “Data and numbers are not sufficient, what is needed is passion amongst people for rivers. Passion and people combinedly can make administration to work towards the river rejuvenation.”
His statement came during the second day of 5th India Water Impact Summit 2020, the focus was on “River Conservation Synchronised Human Settlement”. He also observed that Namami Gange with its multi-sectoral approach has been successful in making a positive impact.
However, river cities continue to expand and develop, creating an additional load for water extraction and pollution on rivers. Therefore, any improvement in the river health cannot be achieved without first addressing the issues and drivers in urban areas.
Prof. Vinod Tare, founding head of cGanga explained that river conservation and development are two sides of same coin. Taking inspiration from Prime Minister’s “Vocal for Local” campaign suggested that local water bodies should be managed by local people and should cater to local needs. This will generate local employment and reduce cost of transporting water.
Sharing NMCG’s vision to not only work towards making present river-cities sensitive towards rivers but also ensure that these problems are not repeated as India continues to urbanise rapidly, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG said, “We are working to integrate ‘Urban River Planning’ and ‘Urban Water Management Plan’ in the city’s master plans and the new master plan for Delhi under preparation would be made river sensitive.” As it was International Mountains Day 2020, he spoke about importance of mountains in entire ecosystem including rivers. Most rivers originate from mountains.
Kees Bons, Deltares, Netherland presented three major takeaways from their experience. This includes, ensuring that any new development or growth is sustainable and does not lead to another problem, following an integrated approach and nature-based solutions and, keep planning technical infrastructural solutions.
Recently cGanga signed a MOU with British Water to create a bridge for UK industry to pair up with its Indian counterparts to build 21st century infrastructure in water and environment sector. UK is also becoming a major partner to help India tap into global capital base to finance its green growth agenda. In a session on ‘Financing global water security and journey to COP -26’ Gayatri I. Kumar, High Commissioner of India to United Kingdom said, “We are continuously engaging and encouraging UK investors to invest in India particularly in water sector.”
5th India Water Impact Summit is organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and its think tank, Center for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga).