Narmada Action Plan: Salient Features

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Madhya Pradesh to attend the “Namami -Narmada Sewa Yatra” released a book titled “Narmada Pravah”. This book contains MP government’s plan to clean and conserve River Narmada. Prime Minister advocated the action plan as perfect to rejuvenate Narmada, and he urged the other state governments to use Madhya Pradesh’s action plan as a model for conserving other rivers in the country.

Narmada Action Plan

Narmada River originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and then flows westward for almost 1300km to drain into the Arabian Sea. The River forms the major source of drinking water as well as for agricultural activities in the state. In fact, it is also known as the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh. However, due to population explosion and unchecked urbanisation, the river is facing extinction and has been polluted to extreme level. The major reasons for its pollution are discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents. To cope up with the problem, the Madhya Pradesh Government drafted the Narmada Action Plan for its conservation. The Key Highlights of the River Narmada Conservation and Development Programmes are as follows:

  • Narmada Sewa Mission is headed by the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister at the top level and by the villagers at the grass root level.
  • Six crore saplings have been planted along the banks of river Narmada and on its catchment area. State government has also deployed “Briksha Sewak” for caring the saplings.
  • Under this model, the banks of Narmada and its catchment area are to be announced as eco-sensitive zones.
  • Sale and consumption of liquor is to be banned within 5 km radius of river Narmada.
  • State government will ensure zero discharge of industrial effluent, garbage & domestic wastes in river Narmada.
  • Government will set up several effluent treatment plants
  • Artificial kunds will be created for immersion of idols especially during the festive season
  • Amarkantak, the origin of Narmada River, will be developed as a smart mini-city under Smart City Mission.
  • IIT Roorkee has been requested to conduct the study of the areas in Amarkantak and Vindhyachal where safe mining could be done.
  • Organic farming will be encouraged along the banks of Narmada
  • Subsidiary rivers will be protected.

The above steps taken by the Madhya Pradesh government for the conservation of River Narmada are praiseworthy. But, controlling river pollution is not only the government’s duty; in fact, it is the duty of every citizen to protect this vital natural resource. Government should also organise seminars on river pollution and its threats, especially at school and college levels, and should encourage technological solutions to prevent river pollution for more effective results.

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