Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today pitched for river connectivity on the lines of power grids for better water conservation, according to an official statement. Gadkari, who is incharge of Ministry of Water Resources, said that availability of water is not the problem in the country, but people need to learn to manage and conserve it. He said the government’s plan to double the income of farmers by 2022 cannot be achieved sans proper water management. The minister stressed that enhancing drip and pipe irrigation will reduce wastage of water and will be cost effective for farmers. He also said that river connectivity programme can reduce water crisis in “critical areas” of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra. Gadkari made the remarks while addressing the second edition of ‘India Water Impact Summit – 2017’ here. Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharti, who also attended the event, said that apart from the government programme, the willpower of the common man is important to achieve the goal of “aviral and nirmal Ganga” (clean Ganga and unfettered flow in it).
Bharti said that there has been a lot of talk about clean Ganga and that it was “time for action and results” now. Bharti, who held the portfolio of water resources before Gadkari took charge of the ministry earlier this year, said she wants to see all the projects related to Clean Ganga to be initiated fully by October 2018. Speaking at the event, water resources ministry secretary UP Singh expressed concern on the declining level of ground water in many parts of the country.
Referring to a survey conducted under national aquifer mapping programme, he said that ground water level has reached an “alarmingly” low level in many areas, while per capital availability is also reducing. A document titled “Vision Ganga” prepared by the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies, which organised the four-day summit along with National Mission for Clean Ganga, was also released on the occasion. The first summit was held in 2012, the statement said.