New Delhi [India] : Union Minister G Kishan Reddy called the conservation of rivers a huge responsibility that is to be fulfilled by everyone, while addressing the Ganga Utsav- The Union Minister G Kishan Reddy which was organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), in two sessions on Friday.
“Taking inspiration from the speech of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26th September 2021, the central aim of the Ganga Utsav- The River Festival 2022 is to celebrate all the rivers of India (Nadi Utsav),” read an official statement.
Union Minister and BJP leader G Kishan Reddy was the chief guest during the morning session, while Union Minister Gajendra Shekhawat was the chief guest during the evening session. Several other officials, politicians and diplomats were also present at the occasion.
NMCG has been celebrating Ganga Utsav since 2017 every year on 4th November, the day on which river Ganga was declared the National River of India in the year 2008, the release stated.
“Ganga Utsav 2022 is dedicated to the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav that is being observed to commemorate the 75 years of Indian Independence. More than 75 events will be organised during which local culture will be promoted,” added the statement.
Activities under Arth Ganga such as Ghat Mein Haat, Ghat Par Yoga, Ganga Artis, etc. were organised as part of cultural programs to generate awareness and employment opportunities along River Ganga. Ganga Utsav 2022 was observed at several locations along the basin on November 4 too.
Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat while addressing the public congratulated everyone who became part of the Ganga Utsav 2022.
“The expansion of civilization is not possible without rivers, they are the elixir of life. Ganga is not just our National River but is also our cultural heritage. Despite being a country imbibing different languages, religions, cultures and music, there are some elements that bind each one of us together and unite us. Ganga is one of them,” said Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
He noted how Indian civilization and culture can never be complete without mentioning Mother Ganga.
“Mokshadayini Maa Ganga is not just a river but is the very basis of religion, philosophy, culture, and civilization flowing through the ages in India. Its pure flow has assimilated every aspect of the land of India. It not just gives water, but also gives nutrition and employment opportunities,” he added.
He mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Madison Square Garden in 2014 wherein he spoke about the dream of making Ganga pollution free.
“Through the efforts of Namami Gange and volunteers, River Ganga has become Aviral and Nirmal. He also noted how any cause, no matter big or small, can be achieved when we combine all individual efforts. He thanked everyone who has contributed to the Clean Ganga Fund, irrespective of the amount donated,” he added.
He noted how in ancient times our sages imparted religious messages on Ganga so that people keep it clean.
“Through Arth Ganga, we are generating economic opportunities for the individuals living near Ganga basin,” he said, adding, “Namami Gange is able to adopt a holistic and multi-sectoral approach for conservation, promotion, and rejuvenation of Ganga and its tributaries. This program, run by the National Mission for Clean Ganga, is emerging as a river rejuvenation model across the country. He said that it is important to promote natural farming practices and incentivize farmers to shift to Natural Farming. Medicinal plantation should be done at a bigger scale as well,” he said.
He said that we need to move beyond Ganga cleanliness and Nirmalta and also look into its river-people connection and prevent it from getting polluted. He also mentioned the significance of promoting tourism along the River Ganga and how the Ganga model can be applied to other rivers of the country for their rejuvenation.
Thanking everyone associated with Ganga, he said that through Ganga Utsav 2022 people are able to connect with River Ganga and hoped for continued success.
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy while addressing the public said that through this festival, the social, cultural and historical heritage of India is showcased. He emphasized the importance of Jan Bhagidari in the rejuvenation of rivers across the country and said that relationships between people and rivers are so strong that rivers are revered as Mothers in India.
“Ganga Utsav 2022 is also representing the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav that is being celebrated across the country,” he said.
Giving the example of Southern India, he said that the people across the country have immense faith in the Ganga, which is a symbol of our culture and civilization.
“Conservation of rivers is the biggest responsibility which we have to fulfill together, especially River Ganga which selflessly provides livelihood to more than 40 per cent of the population and constitutes more than 20 per cent of the country’s landmass,” he added.
He also talked about the various initiatives taken by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the National Mission for Clean Ganga to promote tourism in the areas of the Ganga Basin. He said that these initiatives will generate employment opportunities for the local communities giving impetus to Arth Ganga, the concept espoused by PM Modi.
“Ganga and tourism are related to each other in such a way that they cannot be separated. Today, tourists from all over the world are coming to these tourist places on the banks of the Ganges. For the first time in the history of independent India, a new National Tourism Policy is being finalized by the Government of India,” he said.
He said that Ganga Utsav is a unique and one-of-its-kind event and engaging young children with river conservation is a commendable step. He added that cleaning our rivers is not the job of government bodies alone, but of every single individual whose lives have been touched by the rivers of the country, irrespective of caste, class, gender, and religion.
“It is the responsibility of every individual to work towards Ganga conservation. The government’s initiative in this regard has been of complete commitment and determination towards the cause,” he added.
Minister of State, Jal Shakti, Bishweswar Tudu, began his address by discussing how Ganga is not just a river but a focal point of our civilization.
“Ganga river is one of the oldest rivers in the world and is revered in every family of the country. He noted that the importance of rivers in Indian culture could be known from the fact that many such areas like religious, social, economic, commercial, agriculture, tourism, and medicine are directly connected with our rivers. Rivers are the basis of the life of the Indian people not only as a source of water, but they have been the centre of faith,” he said.
He said that when we talk about rivers, it cannot be complete unless we talk about Ganga. Among the rivers, the Ganges has a special place, which is an integral part of our Indian heritage. He discussed how ongoing projects have been tirelessly working towards Ganga rejuvenation.
“The main objective of this festival is to bring about a change in the behaviour of people towards water and ecology with public awareness, participation, and engagement among the people of the Ganga basin. He noted how the festival has acted as an important platform to strengthen ties with people from all walks of life. At the same time, it has helped in promoting development in and around the Ganga basin,” he added. (ANI)