NAGPUR: As more and more people join hands with Save Nag River: My City, My River campaign, the voices for rejuvenating the River are becoming stronger, leading to a discussion involving all the stake holders.
Industrialist Padmesh Gupta, who was present during the morning awareness walk on Sunday, said the campaign was creating a healthy buzz around the topic. “With awareness spreading about the River and so many people, including politicians, taking part in the campaign, political parties will be inclined towards including the issue in their election manifestos,” he said while taking part in a conversation just before the walk.
Gupta also shared some memories pertaining to the River, as to how people would perform puja and bathe at Sangam. He reiterated that the River should be seen as one’s mother.
These conversations are outcome of the various awareness activities being conducted during this campaign. People participating in the campaign are spreading the message among their kith and kin. “If I get some banners, I will give them good display in my office. Even members of our fraternity will be ready to take the oath to save Nag River,” said Abhijit Kelkar, former president of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). His colleagues Samir Bakre and Kavita Loya also joined the walk. “This effort must be sustained and the participation of the society at large is very crucial,” said Bakre.
The walk in Ambazari Layout was joined by NSS volunteers from Morris College and Kaushalya Devi Maheshwari Mahila Mahavidyalaya. Lezim performance by students from NMC Priyadarshini School, Futala, attracted attention of the residents.
Since Ambazari Layout is close to the river’s starting point in the city, the area is somewhat unaffected by the River pollution seen along the stretches ahead. Mosquitoes and occasional bout of foul smell are the only problem the residents are facing. “There should be some arrangement so that garbage is not thrown into the River. If the River starts flowing like before it will also help in increasing groundwater levels across the city,” said Sagar Ashirgade, a resident.
Apart from garbage, residents have been regularly raising the issue of sewage discharge. “Sewage treatment plants (STP) should be set up at regular intervals. The treated water can be reused while the waste generated will prove to be excellent manure. We have excellent institutes like Neeri whom the authorities can approach for help,” said Ashish Deshmukh.
Giving his views on the subject, another resident SW Deshpande said, “More fresh water needs to be released into the River. Since the amount of sewage is more now, the natural capacity of water to clean it has depleted.”
Blaming the authorities, Anil Killor of NGO Jan Manch said it was the responsibility of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and the Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) to do something for the River. “Now that TOI-MT have taken up this issue, our organization will support any initiative in this regard,” he said.
“We have seen the River in a better condition, but for our children it has always been a nullah. So, it is our responsibility to save the River for the next generation,” said Raul Upganlawar, secretary of Vidarbha Economic Development (VED) Council.
As part of the campaign, the younger generation participated in a cycle rally which was organized by CAC Allrounder and Rotary Club from Panchsheel Talkies to Ambazari overflow point. Rotary district governor Sanjay Meshram flagged off the rally.
Around 700 people signed the pledge to save Nag River during the signature campaign being conducted by volunteers of NGO Zero Gravity.
With awareness spreading about the River and so many people, including politicians, taking part in the campaign, political parties will be inclined towards including the issue in their election manifestos
Padmesh Gupta | Industrialist
If I get some banners, I will give them good display in my office. Even members of our fraternity will be ready to take the oath to save Nag River
Abhijeet Kelkar | former ICAI president
We have seen the River in a better condition, but for our children it has always been a nullah. So, it is our responsibility to save it for the next generation
Raul Upganlawar| VED secretary
NMC, NIT should do something for the River. Now that TOI-MT have taken up this issue, our organization will support any initiative in this regard
Anil Killor | Jan Manch
Nagpur: Speaking after the morning awareness walk at Ambazari Layout under the Save Nag River: My City, My River campaign, minister for employment guarantee scheme and water conservation Nitin Raut said he has asked municipal commissioner Shyam Wardhane to submit a proposal for Nag River on the lines of the Mahatma Phule Jal Abhiyan meant for rural areas.
Claiming that Ambazari was the origin of the River, he further said that not many knew about the history of the rivers. “During the reign of the Bhonsales the River had a lot of importance,” he said, adding that in the later period of history the sewage treatment plants which should have been installed were never built.
He laid emphasis on public and government participation in the process of saving Nag River and said that the state government could help in the cause only when the local administration comes up with a plan. “Conservation and development of Nag River is imperative for the development of Nagpur,” he added.
Raut also said that Ambazari lake needs rejuvenation too. “We have not kept the lake clean and it is dying,” he said. Talking about a possible course of action, he described what he thought should be done.
“Firstly, sewage has to be stopped and sewage treatment plants (STPs) set up. At regular intervals, ponds should be made by digging up to shallow aquifers. It will not only help in reaching groundwater, but also in collecting rain water. Also, the retaining walls damaged at many stretches need to be repaired,” he said, adding that he will be the voice for Nag River in the Maharashtra government.
It is highly appreciating that TOI has undertaken campaign for saving Nag River, which is the lifeline of the city and needs protection from all forms of pollution. Optimal utilization of water resources, minimum generation of wastewater, preventing dumping of hazardous waste and sewage treatment for recycling purpose are some of the important solutions for maintaining the ecosystem of this iconic River.
There should be a time-bound programme to clean Nag River. Students have a big role to play in this ambitious project and should come forward to lend a helping hand. They can contribute through National Social Service (NSS) branches of various colleges. Their presence will really make a difference. Educational institutions across the city should create awareness among students and actively participate in cleaning the River. If we all join hands for this purpose, nothing is impossible.
I remember Rhine River, which is the longest in Germany, was in similar condition. However, concerted efforts by the citizens completely transformed it into a beautiful river. It became possible due to participation of all communities following various awareness campaigns. In my view, Nag River has been polluted more by sewage discharge in urban areas. Excessive use of detergent, which is non-biodegradable, by urban population has added to the pollution.
Nagpur University can help the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) by offering latest technology and know-how to clean contaminated water. Untreated waste is the main reason for dirty water flowing into the River. I believe if sewage water is treated at the threshold itself before it enters river, it will help in a big way. There are many methods to treat water so that it can be used for plantation and farming. Microbiological treatment and use of membrane technology through primary, secondary and tertiary treatment can make it reusable. This water can be also used for industrial purpose and for gardening.
I appeal to citizens, students and researchers to work for the success of this campaign.
(The writer, who is vice chancellor of Nagpur University, spoke to Vaibhav Ganjapure)