December 18, 2017
India’s Waterman Dr Rajendra Singh has come out vehemently against Rally for Rivers campaign initiated by Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Foundation. The rally aims at gaining more fame, power and money and very less towards restoring rivers, he has said.
The Stockholm Water Prize winner has also alleged that Jaggi Vasudev was doing little to prevent encroachments and mining of sand in rivers. As a spiritual guru he should teach people about rivers and create awareness on the fact that a river’s health is very much linked to human health. “Civilisation dies when a river dies. The smooth flow of a river reflects on the societal, economic and culture aspects of the State. I will categorically state that Rally for Rivers is not meant for rivers, it is meant to `grab’ land. Having rejuvenated nine rivers in the last 35 years, I wish to state with clarity that rivers cannot be revived through missed calls,” he asserts
Aravi river was restored by thousands and it took 16 years for it to be completely done in Rajasthan. Dams are no solution; they only curb the right of the rivers. Rivers are meant to flow and slowly at that so that there is no soil erosion. Planting saplings along river beds alone will not help in saving rivers. Water from the catchment areas should be slowed down and an effective river policy should be formulated. It is important to make the country flood and drought-free. Currently, drought areas have gone up 10 times since Independence and flood areas eight times, he notes.
The health of soil and water needs to be improved. Rivers should have a continuous clean flow and “this was what I suggested to Isha while I was with them for a day”, he said.
Activist Piyush Manush alleges that Jaggi Vasudev falsified facts when he said the draft policy was prepared after a six-day deliberation “but Mr Singh was there with them only for a day”.
He added that the 700-page drought policies had several decisions made in the name of the `Water Man’ though he had nothing much to do about it.
Piyush termed the initiative of planting 25 crore trees in Karnataka and 50 crore in Maharastra as “the biggest case of land grab in the country”. Isha Foundation signed an understanding with the respective governments for this and the activist would furnish the relevant documents on December 19 when people get together in Coimbatore to discuss the alleged “irregularities, encroachments and falsification of facts”by Jaggi Vasudev, he added.
Activist Piyush Manush in his FB post late evening has stated that the meeting stands cancelled as the venue which is the Annamalai Hotel near Railway station has refused place. He also alleged that the hotel had received a call from the Chief Minister’s office stating that their license would be cancelled if the meeting was permitted.