The expansion of civilisations is not possible without rivers and the Ganga is a symbol of India’s cultural heritage that binds the nation together, said Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Saturday.
Speaking at an event to mark Ganga Utsav 2022, the minister said Indian civilisation is incomplete without ”Mother Ganga”.
”Ganga is not just our national river but 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,” Shekhawat said.
”The expansion of civilisations is not possible without rivers, they are the elixir of life,” he added.
In a statement released by the Jal Shakti Ministry on Saturday, the minister said, ”Mokshadayini Maa Ganga is not just a river, but is the very basis of religion, philosophy, culture, civilisation 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 said.
He also mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the Indian Community at Madison Square Garden, US in 2014 wherein he spoke about the dream of making Ganga pollution-free.
”Through the efforts of Namami Gange and volunteers, Ganga river has become Aviral and Nirmal. Any cause, no matter big or small, can be achieved when we combine all the individual efforts,” he said.
He thanked everyone who has contributed to the Clean Ganga Fund, irrespective of the amount donated and noted how in the ancient times, seers and 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.
”Namami Gange is able to adopt a holistic and multi-sectoral approach for conservation, promotion and rejuvenation of Ganga and its tributaries. This programme, run by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), is emerging as a river rejuvenation model across the country”, he said.
He said it is important to promote natural farming practices and incentivise farmers to shift to natural farming. He also said medicinal plantation should be done at a bigger scale as well.
We also need to look into the river-people connect and prevent the Ganga from getting polluted, he said.
The minister mentioned the significance of promoting tourism along the river and how Ganga model can be applied to other rivers of the country for their rejuvenation.
Congratulating the NMCG on celebrating the 6th edition of Ganga Utsav, Tourism minister G Kishan Reddy said through this festival, the social, cultural and historical heritage of India is showcased.
He emphasised on the importance of Jan Bhagidari in the rejuvenation of rivers across the country and said the relation between people and rivers is 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.
He said people across the country have immense faith in Ganga, which is a symbol of our culture and civilisation.
”Conservation of rivers is the biggest responsibility which we have to fulfil together, especially Ganga river 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 NMCG to promote tourism in the areas of Ganga Basin.
He said these initiatives will generate employment opportunities for the local communities giving impetus to Arth Ganga, the concept espoused by the prime minister.
He said Ganga and tourism are related and cannot be separated. For the first time in the history of independent India, a new National Tourism Policy is being finalised by the Union government, he said.