Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 22
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a 100-day ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign on World Water Day via video conferencing and pitched for leadership roles to women with regard to water management.
Also he witnessed signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, respectively Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Yogi Adityanath, to link Ken and Betwa rivers on the occasion.
Doubling down on the importance of water, Modi said water undergirds India’s vision of progress and success. It impinges upon every aspect of life. India cannot progress without its water security, he added.
He said not much was done in this regard before. He said conservation and preservation of water is the cornerstone of the Union government policies.
The PMKSY, JJM, Per More Per Crop, Namami gange, Har Khet Jal and Atal Bhujal Yojana are some of the policies directed for better water management.
He expressed concern that groundwater in several parts of the country was contaminated with arsenic and fluoride among others affecting the health of the people of the areas.
Calling upon people to save rainwater under the canvass of water management, he said it is pragmatism that precautionary and redemptive measures are taken in time.
He called for peoples’ movement led by women for better management of the country’s water resources.
“Give our mothers and sisters the leadership role,” Modi said, and added that they know the importance of water better.
“The country’s water scarcity will be countered effectively if they take up the leadership role.”
The campaign launched today will be undertaken across the country in both rural and urban areas with the theme “catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls”.
It will be implemented from March 22 to November 30, 2021 -- the pre-monsoon and monsoon period in the country.
Modi directed that during this period, all the MGNREGA related works must be directed only towards the theme of the campaign.
Modi also interacted with elected representatives of village panchayats on the issue of water conservation on the occasion.
After the event, Gram Sabhas are scheduled to hold in all Gram Panchayats of each district (except in the poll bound states) to discuss issues related to water and water conservation.
Gram Sabhas will also take ‘Jal Shapath’ for water conservation.
Terming the MoU for the Ken-Betwa rivers link project as “historic”, Modi said it will benefit the people of the large swathe of the parched Bundelkhand region.
The Bundelkhand is a hilly region consisting of 13 districts spread over Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Historically, the region has earned notoriety for acute water scarcity and rampant poverty.
While Ken starts in Bundelkhand and flows through Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, Betwa (tributary of Yamuna) rises in Vindhya Range and flows through the two states.
The two rivers will be linked vide a 212 km-long canal.
Over 10 lakh hectares of farm land of the region will be irrigated on account of the link project. About 62 lakh people would be provided potable water.
Besides, a slew of projects, including power projects will be set up along the course of the rivers.
Linking of Ken and Betwa rivers project is the first project of the National Perspective Plan for interlinking of the country’s rivers.
This plan was conceived in right earnest during the AB Vajpayee-led NDA government at the Centre.
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