My engagement with Mountains, Forests, and Rivers goes back to my early childhood – not just as nature and resource that one would enjoy but as an integral part of myself. In the last 25 years, I have been watching with concern the gradual depletion of river flows across the country, and in the last eight years, this depletion has taken a very steep downturn. I am not a scientist and have no appropriate scientific knowledge or words to articulate this. But in my simple observation of the situation, I see that it is a lack of vegetation in combination with excessive groundwater exploitation which has brought havoc upon our rivers. Augmenting sources of water by vegetating the land in all possible ways and managing the water use with appropriate technologies is the way forward.
The depletion of organic content in the soil and inadequate sources of water have driven our farmers, who have managed to produce food for such a large population, to suicide. This Draft of Policy Recommendation is an effort in consultation with a variety of experts from various fields of expertise and experience to find solutions to this dire issue of water and soil depletion, taking into consideration the interest of all stakeholders. The first and foremost stakeholder being the river, then the life sustained by the river, then the farmers, the larger community, and the local and central administration. The Draft is an effort to make this into an economic policy with significant ecological impact. An implementable and enforceable policy is the prime goal. It is our humble hope that the needed legislative and administrative steps shall be taken to establish these most needed measures as a mandatory law.
Driving towards treating our rivers, water bodies, and soil as National Treasure. The Rally for Rivers rolls on into Andhra Pradesh, the land of Krishna and Godavari.
Between driving, events, media engagement, and endless welcome parties, quite a stretch. But the team is in good spirits for this noble adventure.