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‘Water parliaments will save rivers’

Rajendra Singh, stressed on the need to demarcate common properties and removal of encroachments from river areas as the first step to saving the rivers.

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Bhagyashree Kulthe

Updated: Dec 25, 2010, 01:06 PM IST

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Expressing anguish over the deteriorating state of rivers in Pune, Magsaysay award winner and water conservationist, Rajendra Singh, stressed on the need to demarcate common properties and removal of encroachments from river areas as the first step to saving the rivers.

He was in the city on Friday to address a workshop on conservation of water resources organised jointly by the Pune Union of Working Journalists (PUWJ), Harit Mitra Parivar and Jal Biradari.

He felt that encroachment on rivers has resulted in recurring floods. He visited Ramnadi, Devnadi and Pashan Lake and found that pollution in these water bodies had gone from bad to worse since his last visit a year ago. As there is no proper demarcation of river boundary, encroachments backed by politicians had increased, he said.

He strongly objected to constructing walls along the sides of the river. “We need to understand how we are being fooled by the administrators and the government. They allow pollution of rivers and then import technology to clean them. Misappropriation of funds becomes easy. Why can’t we effectively implement biotechnology with the help of our experts?’’ he remarked.

 While appreciating the movements in Pune for saving its rivers, he suggested that these should now go ahead with a broader perspective and vision. He suggested that residents on the banks of river should form “water parliaments”, joining hands to build pressure on the administration to treat sewage water before releasing it into rivers and prevent builders from polluting water.

Singh stressed on the need to change environment education curriculum in schools to make it more realistic.

“Children need to be included in environmental movements. But we first need to replace the bookish syllabus with a constructive and realistic approach,’’ he added.

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