Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan works wonders for villagers
NEW DELHI: Two years ago, 10 small villages
along Yamuna were selected for a river restoration project. The Nadi Mitra
Mandalis were given an action plan that included natural and organic farming,
waste water management, improvement in sanitation, catchment restoration, and
assessment of the river and village health. Children were involved through a
school outreach programme.
On Friday, Kanalsi village, on the floodplain of the Somb and Yamuna rivers
near Yamunagar, was recognized for carrying out the most successful project.
The village has moved largely to chemical-free farming and planted 1,700
saplings in the past two years besides improving sanitation and waste water
management. Ramra village near Panipat was adjudged second best, while Hamirpur
The project has been financed by the Thames
River Restoration Trust from the money it won under the Theiss International
River prize for the efforts made in cleaning Thames over the past 60 years. The
prize money is being used for community work along Ganga and Yamuna. Yamuna
Jiye Abhiyaan supported the project, helped by WWF, which conducted
biodiversity activity in one village along Yamuna.
¬†Dr Robert Oates, executive director of the
TRRT, said the work of the mandalis proved that resource-intensive projects
were not the only way forward for projects like river cleaning. People's
participation was important, especially at the grassroots level. "In rural
areas, people have real control over land, so they feel a greater sense of
responsibility. They are also more dependent on nature. We want bring this
model to the cities," he said. Manoj Misra, convener of the Yamuna Jiye
Abhiyaan, said that while common defined targets were given to each grid or
village, specialized activities were taken up in keeping with the areas's
¬†The 10 villages, from Yamnotri up to
Allahabad in the plains, raised 6,000 plants, assessed the river's health every
month through water quality and biodiversity.