Experts from the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), an informal network of organisations and individuals working on issues related to water, have urged the government to draft a policy and enact a law for protection of rivers. They also want the government to declare certain rivers in each state as 'no-go areas' and leaving them in their natural state by not building dams or hydropower projects on them.
The request was made at the world river's day celebrated recently. SANDRP experts highlighted the present situation of rivers and the need to protect them. They said that there is a need to take a look at the pathetic state of rivers, riverine and connected terrestrial biodiversity and communities ahead of the upcoming 11th Conference of Parties at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be hosted in Hyderabad from October 8 to 19. Millions in India depend on rivers for their livelihoods, but there is no protection for them when their livelihoods are affected by upstream dams and other interventions, said experts.
Parineeta Dandekar, associate co-ordinator at SANDRP, told TOI that even as the Union ministry of environment and forests in its latest submission to the convention on biological diversity said that it has increased protected areas from 1.33 lakh square kms to 1.56 lakh sq kms, the fact is that India has next to none protected areas for explicit protection of rivers and freshwater biodiversity. In Maharashtra, Shastri river in Konkan and Wainganga in Vidarbha should be declared as 'no-go areas', she said. Read more>>>