In Madhya Pradesh: From “Narmada Samagra” to “Namami Devi Narmade” Campaign
Bhopal: Union Minister for Environment Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave, took the initiative a couple of years ago to protect the sanctity of the Narmada River and maintain it as a source of clean pollution free water by setting up the Narmada Samagra, a not-for-profit organisation.
Narmada Samagra website spells out its objective by stating that it is an initiative to foster a dialogue between all those already working for this noblest cause and others who want to contribute. Narmada Samagra desires collective action on all aspects of Narmada River. We Wish to bring together all dimensions and perceptions at one stage.
Narmada Samagra has raised a pertinent issue by asking the question – Everybody needs water from Narmada but where this water comes from? How to increase the available water wealth of Narmada? It goes on to underscore “this serious concern is missing all around.”
The Madhya Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party Government led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has started moving in the same direction through its “Namami Devi Narmade” campaign. This campaign is obviously inspired by the goals and objectives of the lofty Samagra Naramada campaign launched earlier by Mr. Dave, who has authored Narmada Samagra (travelogue) and Samgra Gram Vikas (Composite village development); and “From Amarkantak to Amarkantak”.
Yesterday, while launching the “Narmada Seva Yatra” website ‘Namami Devi Narmade’ the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister expressed the hope that the ‘ Namami Devi Narmade ‘ campaign, which will draw strength through the participation of entire community and supported to the hilt by “Madhya Pradesh Jan Abhiyan Parishad”¹, will become an example for the whole world when it comes to protecting the rivers. Under this campaign, a massive tree plantation drive would be undertaken for 118 days on both banks of Narmada River, the Chief Minister announced on this occasion.
The Chief Minister declared that compensation will be paid to the farmers who own agriculture land on the banks of the Narmada river for plantation of fruit bearing trees till they mature. He told the gathering that from November 11 this year the “Narmada Seva Yatra” (journey) will begin to build awareness among the people for the conservation of Narmada River and also to make it pollution free. Several water treatment plants will be set up to protect the Narmada from pollution at Amarkantak and various towns and villages falling along the river. All the villages along the Narmada will also be made open defecation and liquor free, he added.
Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker Sitasharan Sharma said on this occasion that ‘ Namami Devi Narmade’ is a campaign to save Narmada. Because of this campaign, Narmada will become medium for social and economic development of the state. Minister for Forest Dr. Gourishankar Shejwar said that gratitude is the component of Indian Culture. Narmada is our lifeline and foundation of rural economy. Awareness is needed to protect the pious Narmada from pollution. State BJP President and MP Nandkumar Singh Chouhan, who presided over the programme, said that this campaign has been launched to save the life of the future generation. Every section of the society should come forward and join this campaign. Madhya Pradesh has made the River Linking programme of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpai meaningful.
Minister for Environment, Cottage Industries and Animal Husbandry Antar Singh Arya, Minister of State for Cooperatives Vishwas Sarang and Minister of State for Social Justice, Disabled Welfare Sanjay Pathak were present in the programme.
At the special function to mark the ‘Namami Devi Narmade’ Campaign, the chief minister presented awards for Narmada song to Mahesh Shrivastava, Shakti Rawat and Dr. Shailendra Mishra for bagging first, second and third position respectively. Similarly, for slogan awards were given to Pradeep Verma, Shivani Bhargava, Omprakash Sharma, Himanshu Shukla, Jitendra Thakur, Jairam Khangar, Ramakant Gupta and Sulabh Singh. Awards were also given to Ms. Gouri Vandalkar, Bhupendra Rohit and Devasheesh Mandal for the logo contest. Dr. Shailendra Mishra who received a sum of Rs. 21000 as reward money handed over the entire amount to the chief minister for the campaign.
¹ Jan Abhiyan Parishad (Council for People’s campaign) was registered in 1997 under the Madhya Pradesh Societies’ Registration Act of 1973. The Chief Minister is the ex-officio chairman of this organisation and its general body is headed by the State chief secretary. Its charter reiterates commitment towards its role as a coordinator between the government and NGOs. The main purpose of the Council is to build a public awareness campaign. It is engaged in capacity building and empowerment and is promoting networking among NGOs.