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  Life   More Features  25 Mar 2017  It ain’t just a river anymore!

It ain’t just a river anymore!

THE ASIAN AGE. | MERIN JAMES
Published : Mar 25, 2017, 12:06 am IST
Updated : Mar 25, 2017, 6:20 am IST

The Uttarakhand High Court declaring rivers Ganga and Yamuna as living entities provides a fillip to conservationists.

Giving Ganga the status of a living being under the constitution would bring major impact in terms of preserving the river.
 Giving Ganga the status of a living being under the constitution would bring major impact in terms of preserving the river.

PM Modi’s ambitious Namami Gange project brings together various efforts in cleaning and conserving the world’s third largest river, Ganga. With the move by the HC declaring both the Ganges and the Yamuna  as ‘living entities’, water conservationists across the country are ecstatic.

Ramkumar Mohan, one among the Trichur Brothers, who made the Namami Gange anthem, is overjoyed. “It’s a terrific thing that has happened in recent times. This law is reinforcing and reinvigorating. Giving Ganga the status of a living being under the constitution would bring major impact in terms of preserving the river. This move will help people take the matter on a serious level. If somebody is polluting it, the governing body can take strict action on them and the punishment would be a lot more severe. Though there were awareness campaigns and various acts earlier, it has been taken to the next level now. The new status gives the rivers an individual identity and in due course of time, people will be more sensitive about how they treat the rivers. Nobody will mistreat the river anymore,” he says.

A lagoon conservationist from Chennai, Xavier Benedict is excited about the move — “It is very encouraging — if we consider every river as human beings, anyone who pollutes the river will be treated as a criminal! Not only rivers, if we declare all the wetlands as living entities, it will make a major difference in people’s lives.  In south India, especially in Chennai, for generations, we are dependent on wetlands, ponds and lakes for water. Pollution doesn’t mean only industrial pollution — throwing dead bodies into the holy river also should be banned,” Benedict says.

Srikrishna and Ramkumar MohanSrikrishna and Ramkumar Mohan

Ramkumar, who visited Varanasi a couple of months back with his brother, Srikrishna Mohan for a song shoot, could spot the difference in the water. “While we were shooting for Namami Gange, the situation of the river was pathetic. But now after 1.5 years, while visiting the place I could easily identify the difference. The surface of the river has started to come back to its pristine form. But considering the population of our country, I feel that we should put in more effort in terms of spreading the word and creating awareness.”

He also feels that if the authority can tackle such a serious issue with ease, they will have the confidence to tackle smaller problem — “If the Ganga model becomes a success and if we bring back the river to its original form, the confidence of the government and the people will increase.”

Now, the rivers have fundamental rights like any other human being. Arun Krishnamurthy, Founder of Environmentalist Foundation of India, mentions, “It would definitely bring in the much-needed attention towards conservation of fresh water habitats. This move will re-emphasise the fact that we should think beyond human beings. Eventually, every other state will follow the rule. We might see rivers like Kaveri, Vaigai, and Thamirabarani declared as living entities.”

Tags: varanasi, ganga, namami gange