Skip to main content

Pristine rivers before they merge into Ganga suggest pollution crisis is totally manmade

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

After completing my journey of Ganga and Yamuna rivers in the Himalayas, I undertook a journey to see the beauty of river Kali which is known as Mahakali in Nepal and is known as Sarda after Purnagiri hills near Tanakpur in Uttarakhand. We started from Tawaghat, about 30 kilometres from Dharchula town in Pithoragarh district. 
While we wanted to go up to Adi Kailash,  due to heavy rains and landslide it was not possible. So, at Tawaghat, Darma river or Dhauli Ganga (not the same that merges with Alaknanda at Vishnu Prayag) flows into Kali river. Tawaghat was an important market on the way to Kaliash Mansarovar, but the 2013 floods destroyed the entire market and there is not a small trace of it now.
At Dharchula, you can see a city divided by two national identities, India and Nepal, but the culture and civilisation unite them. It shows how culture is a powerful uniting factor. Kali or Mahakali is actually the borderline between India and Nepal in the Uttarakhand region. 
30 kilometers down, Kali meets another river coming from Milam glacier known as Gori Ganga. Some call it Gauri Ganga at Joljibi, which is a historic town for business between India and Nepal. From Joljibi we went to Askot, a beautiful historical town where the Pal dynasty of  Uttarakhand flourished once. A beautiful temple of Mallikarjun Mahadev is at the top which can provide you a glimpse of beautiful peaks of Panchachuli Himalayan range as well as the Kali valley.
From Joljibi the river  move towards Jhulaghat, another important town between India and Nepal. Just ahead of Jhulaghat, about five kilometres, river Chamelia  coming from Nepal flows into Kali. From Jhulaghat the river moves to Pancheshwar where Saryu river flows into Kali, and after some kilometres, the journey of the same river is known as Sarda from Purnagiri hills, just a few kilometres before Tanakpur barrage.
At the border town of Banbasa (bordering with the Mahendranagar district of Nepal), the river passes through some forest zones and reaches Pilibhit and Lakimpurkhiri but from Khatima. A parallel Sarda Canal passes through the beautiful Surai forests followed by Pilibhit Tiger Range. At the border of Sitapur-Lakhimpurkhiri-Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh, Sarda river finally ends its journey by merging into river Ghaghra.
Ghaghra river’s origin too is from the Mansarovar range. It takes a down turn to the beautiful region of Nepal, and is known as Karnali. It passes through the mesmerising landscape near Pitmari and Cheesapani in Nepal and splits into two rivers before entering into India, namely Girua and Kudiyala. Both these rivers pass through dense forests of Kataraniyaghat Tiger range in Bahraich and meets at Girijapuri, where a barrage is made over them, and the river afterwards is called Ghaghra. From there the river passes through Bahraich, Sitapur, and Gonda, and is known as Saryu at Ayodhya, and it moves towards Basi, Azamagarh and finally enters Bihar via Siwan and  merges into river Ganga at a place near Chirand and Revelanj in district Saran. Son river coming from Amarkantak and Kaimur hills too meets Ganga at this point known as Teen Dhara, about 10 kilometres river journey from Chirand.
Heavy sand mining has destroyed the river system. You cannot stand for a minute as the air has thick layers of sand and dust. Every year Ghaghra and Sarda cause huge devastation, change their embankment and millions of hectare of fertile land  turns barren. While in Uttarakhand dams, constructions etc. have made a challenge and we may not see many of these locations which we have shown in my video, I deliberately did not mention anything of that because I want people to understand the crisis is totally manmade. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the disaster is being caused by mining as well as rituals when people take a dip in the rivers and wash their sins in there without bothering as to what will happen tomorrow.
We need a people’s conscious decision not to pollute our rivers. At the policy level the government needs to think as to what needs to be done. There is a limit to their commercial usage. Our rivers are our identity and we need to see whether we want to protect our rivers, our heritage and cultural identities or just put them for commercial usage. How long will this commercial exploitation be allowed? What is the limit to exploitation? Of course, these are not parts of the video, which is just a narration of a journey and the conclusions should be drawn by  people themselves. 
---
*Human rights defender 

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.