Around 5,000 Himalayan streams in Uttarakhand will be rejuvenated this year through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) projects, carried out with local level committees monitoring their progress, informed officials.
Mohammad Aslam, state coordinator for MGNREGA said, “As migrant workers started returning to the state, we tried to expand avenues to give them jobs. We found work for them by converging areas of different departments. Following the same method, this project will be undertaken using the help of forest, labour and drinking water departments.”
Aslam added that Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan has identified around 5,000 streams and recharge points in the hilly regions of the state that need to be rejuvenated.
“A detailed report regarding the project has already been submitted to the state government and an order is soon to be released. Every stream or water recharge point will need a different kind of treatment depending on its location, and we would be engaging field experts who would help us understand what approach will yield the best results. Works like making trenches, ponds, plantation, rejuvenating catchment area will be carried out as part of the project,” said Aslam.
On Tuesday, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced that the government has started work to revive one Himalayan river in every district.
“The goal is to revive one river in every district. A successful effort is being made to recharge more than 400 water bodies in the catchment area of Garuda Ganga river in Bageshwar district. Many works in the area such as plantation of broad leaf, digging of trenches, construction of check dams are being done,” tweeted CM Rawat.
He added, “Our mountains, glaciers, rivers, water bodies, forests are all our priceless heritage. Their protection is the responsibility of all of us. During the last nearly three and a half years, the work of conservation and revival of the rivers, lakes, ponds and waters of the state has been done on a large scale.”
A report by the Irrigation Research Institute, Roorkee, says that around 12,000 natural springs in the state are believed to have completely dried up.
The report states, “The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has inventoried many springs in different parts of the state, but it has to be mentioned that a staggering number of 12,000 natural springs in Uttarakhand are speculated to be completely parched.”