Gomti turning into a river of no return | india | Hindustan Times
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Gomti turning into a river of no return

WATERMAN RAJENDRA Singh is fast losing hope for the Gomti. ?The UP Government should soon declare the river as a ?nullah?. This way the government would not have any responsibility whatsoever towards the river,? he says with contempt.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 00:45 IST

WATERMAN RAJENDRA Singh is fast losing hope for the Gomti.
“The UP Government should soon declare the river as a ‘nullah’. This way the government would not have any responsibility whatsoever towards the river,” he says with contempt.

“As it is, the river now literally resembles more a municipal corporation nullah. So much for the river that was considered sacred. There was a time when it was worth having bath there. So clean was the river till 1978. I too had bath in Gomti ‘when it used to be a river’.

The government and people are doing nothing for the river,” said the Magsaysay Award winner while talking to Hindustan Times at Indian Institute of Mangement, Lucknow, on Sunday. He was at the institute to address an IIM workshop on environment.

The Waterman interestingly has struggled for 25 years in large water deficient areas in Rajasthan and turned them into water efficient ones (In environmentalists’ jargon he turned dark zones in white zones). For the first fifteen years of the 25 years, it was an uphill task amidst resistance from people, government and others. “I had to face 377 court cases filed against me and my organisation. I never gave up. And as they say that when a man’s intentions are right, he does win finally. I won. People, took very long to get convinced, but finally they understood.”

He has converted 6,500 sq km of dark zone in Rajasthan into white zone by using various traditional water conservation and storage methods through his Community Driven Decentralized Natural Resource Management Programme. Rajendra Singh, is based in Alwar, Rajasthan. When he came to Lucknow three years ago he had ‘warned’ that if the government and people don’t do anything quickly then Gomti may become extinct in about 10 years. People in UP had a lot of water, so they never understood it’s value. But now here too water was getting scarce. It was high time people got aware to save surface, underground and rain water, he said.

He has launched a ‘Water literacy movement’ to create National Water Brotherhood four years ago. The movement will enter UP in July to make people ‘literate’ about water.