Thursday, May 23, 2024

Prez Kovind urges people to join govt’s water conservation movement, presents national awards

water awards

New Delhi, March 29: President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday appealed to the people to join the government’s movement for water conservation and asked district administration and sarpanches to play a special role in inspiring them to become its part.
The President presented the National Water Awards to states, districts, local bodies and schools among others.
He also launched the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain campaign 2022’ during the event. The Catch the Rain campaign will continue to be implemented this year till November 30.
Some new features such as spring shed development, protection of water catchment areas, gender mainstreaming in water sector have been added to the campaign.
National Water Mission’s (NWM) campaign ‘Catch The Rain’ with the tagline “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls” is to nudge the states and stakeholders to create appropriate Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RWHS) suitable to the climatic conditions.
Speaking at the event, he appealed to the people to join the government’s movement of water conservation and asked district administration and sarpanches to play a special role in inspiring people to become part of the movement.
“We must take a pledge that as the biggest vaccination programme is being run in the country, in the same way we make this abhiyan too the biggest movement of water conservation,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have secured the first, second and third prizes, respectively, in the best state category in the National Water Awards while Muzaffarnagar in UP and Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar in Punjab secured the first and second position respectively among best performing districts in north while Thiruvanathapuram and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh secured the first and second rank in the south zone.
East Champaran in Bihar, and Godda in Jharkhand secured the first and second rank respectively in the east zone while Indore won the first prize in west and Vadodara and Banswara were declared joint second winners in the west zone.
Dhaspad, Almora in Uttarakhand, Yelerampura Panchayat, Tumakuru District in Karnataka, Telari Panchayat, Gaya District in Bihar and Takhatgadh, Sabarkantha in Gujarat and Sialsir, Sirchip, Mizoram bagged the first prize in north, south, east, west and northeast regions, respectively.
The best urban local body award was given to Vapi Urban Local Body, Gujarat, while Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Kaveripattinam, Tamil Nadu bagged the first prize among schools following water conservation practices.
Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Jammu was awarded the best institution in following water conservation practices.
Terming it as a “matter of pride” for the Union Territory, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha said the recognition will inspire more institutions of Jammu and Kashmir for effective water management, minimizing pollution and strengthening sanitation facilities. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) CEO Ramesh Kumar received the award and thanked the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti for recognising the work done by the Board for water conservation and proper water management.
ITC Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal was awarded the best industry for CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.
The President said water sources like ponds and lakes, which provide water to cities throughout the year, have also disappeared under the pressure of urbanization.
“It has turned water management upside down. The quantity of groundwater is decreasing and its level is also going down. On one hand, cities have to draw their water from far away places and, on the other hand, streets are flooded in monsoons,” Kovind said.
He said scientists and activists have also been expressing their concern about this paradox of water management during the last few decades.
“In India, this problem becomes more serious because our country has about 18 per cent of the world’s population, while we have only 4 per cent of the fresh water resources. The availability of water is uncertain and depends to a large extent on rainfall,” Kovind said.
The President said the issue of water is a part of an even larger crisis of climate change. “As climate changes, flood and drought conditions are becoming more frequent and more severe. The Himalayan glaciers are melting, and the sea level is rising”.
The serious consequences of such changes are coming to the fore, which are having an even worse impact on the lives of farmers, women and the poor, he added.
The President said that today the water crisis has became an international crisis and it can take dire forms. Some defence experts have even said that in future it can become a major cause of international conflict, Kovind noted.
He said that in the recent years, the policies of the government have included rejuvenation of rivers, holistic management of river basins, expeditious completion of long-pending irrigation projects to strengthen water security in a sustainable manner and rejuvenation of existing dams.
Congratulating the winners, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said they have given a new energy in the water resources conservation.
“We all know water is the basis of our life. We need 1,100 billion cubic metres of water and would need 1,450 billion cubic metres would be required. So presently the situation is such that if we look at the future requirement, then definitely there exists a challenge,” he said.
Shekhawat said India receives just 4 per cent of potable water and with climate change and the difference in rain pattern, the challenges have increased.
“About 50 per cent water requirement is fulfilled by just 15 days of rainfall that we get in less than 100 hours that is why there is need of water conservation which is a big challenge. Every drop of rain is precious for us. We need to conserve every rain drop that we get,” he added. (PTI)