The Bihar government has roped in anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare to draw nationwide attention to the issue of siltation in the Ganga in Bihar, which causes the river to overtop its banks during the monsoon season.
Hazare will be among the main speakers at a two-day conference being organized by the state water resources department (WRD), on the siltation problem in New Delhi, beginning May 18. The government expects him to lead a mass movement on the cause.
The topic chosen for the meet is ‘Sedimentation, a colossal impediment to incessant flow of river Ganga: problem and solution’. The conference will be inaugurated by chief minister Nitish Kumar.
“The problems of the Ganga can’t be solved by government alone and it requires public participation. Hence, to provoke a mass movement, Anna Hazare will guide us in a positive way,” said Bihar water resources minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh on Wednesday.
The other prominent speakers at the conference include Swami Avimukteshwaranand, who will discuss the religious aspects of the river, former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, environmental expert Dr GD Agrawal and water expert Rajendra Singh.
The conference will be organised at India International Centre, New Delhi.
Earlier this year, the WRD had organised a conference on ‘incessant Ganga’ in Patna. About the coming meet, the minister said it would be a step forward to explore ways to handle the problem of sedimentation, which had caused floods in the state last year with devastating impact in many parts of Bihar.
Talking to newsmen here on Wednesday, the minister said since the problem of siltation was of national concern, as it affected all the Ganga riparian states, the WRD has planned to provide a common platform to all those who were affected.
Singh said the conference would deliberate on future policy issues, technical solutions and long term perspective plans to conserve the Ganga and the echo-system related to it.
Expressing anxiety over continued silt deposit in the river, he said this would pose a serious threat to the Ganga riparian districts in the state in the years to come.
“We raised the issue at various levels and also took up the matter strongly with the Centre, but the Union government has not taken note of our concern,” he claimed. “ But we will pursue our movement relentlessly and try to bring it to a logical end,” he added.