Narmada Bachao activist Medha Patkar on Friday criticised the Narmada Sewa Yatra, alleging that the MP government has digressed from the agenda of the programme and has made money out of it.
“The government does not even have the right to even talk about saving Narmada and do such programmes. It is the government that has ruined the river by permitting sand mining and inviting thermal projects near its banks,” Patkar said.
‘Stop intrusion of industrial corridors and mining to save Narmada’
“The government, with its various moves, is trying to convert Narmada into a lake. If the intrusion of industrial corridors and mining is not stopped, Narmada will soon vanish,” she said.
“The government has stopped considering making dams on Narmada. It is now launching schemes like the Narmada pipeline to fool farmers and tribal people. No farmer or tribal will benefit from any of the schemes,” she said.
Bhopal-based environmentalist Subhash C Pandey spoke at length on the alleged lack of research by the government.
‘Building a pathway on Narmada will harm area’s ecosystem’
“According to reports, the government is planning to make an eight-metre pathway on Narmada besides planting fruit-bearing trees on its banks. Little do the ministers know and understand that building a pathway on the Narmada will harm the ecosystem of the area. Also, the aquatic life will be disturbed,” he said.
“They have plans for planting fruit-bearing trees in a lush wild forest, which is an irrational thought. They will cut wild trees that help balance the ecosystem and plant smaller trees bearing lemons and pomegranates. Then, these trees would require pesticides and insecticides, which will again destruct the river water. Any environment expert would know that deep-rooted big wild trees are necessary on river banks to prevent the soil erosion, which fruit bearing trees would not be able to do,” he said.