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Padyatras begin today against 'anti-river' policies

2008: Uttarakhand’s Save the Rivers Year
By our staff reporter
Garhwal Post, 1 January 2008

Dehradun, 31 Dec: Concerned citizens of Uttarakhand and social activists have begun a campaign to mobilise communities against the ‘anti-river policies’ of the state and awaken the government to save their rivers. They have declared 2008 as ‘Save the Rivers Year’. Padyatras are being organised from 1 January to 15 January 2008 in 12 river valleys to promote mass contact, hold public meetings and discussion with local communities. The walks will also lead to a study of the state of the rivers and a compilation of people’s concerns. A signature campaign will be undertaken during the walk. The 12 teams will gather in Ramnagar for a conference to share their experiences on 16-17 January. Specific programmes for the remaining year will be chalked out at the conference. The problems of the people and their concerns will be presented to the state government along with their direction to the state.

The campaign is receiving good support from the local communities, particularly women’s organisations and other community-based organisation. Radha Behen, Chairperson of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, Dr Shamsher Singh Bisht, Chairman of the Uttarakhand Lok Vahini, the well-known folk singer and poet Girda, Dr Shekhar Pathak, Dr Ravi Chopra, Director of People’s Science Institute, Ramesh Pahari, a senior journalist, Suresh Bhai of the ‘Himalayee Pariyavaran Shiksha Sansthan’ and Laksman Singh Negi are guiding the campaign. Several eminent persons from other parts of the country including Magsaysay Award winners like Rajendra Singh, Dr Sandeep Pandey and Arvind Kejriwal and social activists like Dr Sudarshan, SR Hiremath, among others will join the walks at different stages. [more]