World Water Day on March 22
Protect people's right on water
On the occasion of World Water Day, Jaladhikar organised a national convention on water in New Delhi.
The day-long seminar was inaugurated by Acharya Lokesh Muni and Dr Harjeet Anand. They expressed their solidarity with the movement. Lokesh Muniji quoted the Jain philosophy for importance of water.
Dr Anand suggested that water is the fundamental right to life. The participants expressed concern that in the name of development the places with potable water catchment areas have been converted into commercial buildings. The rain water, instead of collecting it as underground water resource, now flow off to drainage system.
Shri Gopal Agarwal emphasised that in the name of privatisation of distribution and maintenance, large-scale commercialisation is being done to benefit a limited class of people, whereas it is not beneficial to the masses. Water is a basic element of Nature and private property cannot be created over it.
He said before the draft National Water Policy, 2012, both the earlier policies did not talk of privatisation and full cost recovery of water but this draft changes the focus. We oppose this and request the government to provide free potable water at public places, he said.
Many speakers expressed the view that it is the responsibility of the government under Article 21 of the Constitution to provide free water to all the citizens. This has been substantiated by many court orders that privatisation will not help in resolving the water problem and may create a cevil-war like situation in the country, if not tackled properly.
Shri Kailash Goduka, general secretary of the movement, said the government needs to preserve water resource through traditional methods of bavli, talabs etc.
Noted environmentalist Shri Anupam Mishra appreciated that the movement has been successful in creating awareness on the issue. About 200 people attended the convention.
In the concluding session Swami Chidrupanand of Chinmaya Mission spoke about the importance of the pledge and commitment at individual level. About 100 people signed a written pledge document exhorting the government to accept the demand and personal commitment to secure water and join the movement. About 50 youth volunteers were awarded certificate and they committed themselves to work for Jaladhikar movement.
A document authored by Shri Gopal Agarwal, Shri Kailash Gaduka and Shri Saberwal was also released at the convention. The document highlighted all important issues, view-points of different stake holders and water related issues. Dr Ashish Sarvan moved a resolution to this effect which was unanimously passed.
Important dignataries who expressed their views at the convention included Shri Sunil Ambekar (organising secretary of ABVP), Dr Rama (Prof at Hans Raj College), Prof MP Sharma (Rockland Hospital), Choudhary Ramkaran (Gram Pradhan), Shri Arun Kumar (Pani Baba), Shri Mahesh Gupta (CMD Kent RO), Prof Ishteyaa Alam (HoD, Department of Geography, Jamia Milia), Mohammed Mizan (Hum Hindustani) Shri Diwan Singh (National Heritage Trust) Shri Awadesh Upadhyaya (Urja) Shri Kant (president of Samarth Shiksha Samiti) and Shri Anil Sharma (president of Bharatiya Vidya Salahakar Samiti), many social activists from all parts of the country including Assam, Rishikesh, etc.
Water activists from various parts also participated in the seminar. The people wrote slogans on white flex sheet provided there to express their sentiments. Earthen pots were put in different places outside the hall with slogans on them.