Save water campaign: Mamata Banerjee embarks on padayatra
Kolkata, July 12: "Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink." This line from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is what India is facing today. The emerging issue of safe water scarcity. To spread the awareness of 'save water- save life' the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a massive "Padayatra" (road march) in Kolkata on Friday. School students, youth and NGOs also took to streets along with the CM.
The CM was accompanied by her cabinet colleagues, government officials, intellectuals including writers, actors and directors of Bengali film and theatre industry and sports personalities, Mamata walked from Jorasanko Thakurbari, the ancestral home of Rabindra Nath Tagore in north Kolkata, to the Gandhi statue on Mayo Road, a distance of around 4 km.
Sporting blue-coloured sashes with the message "Save Water, Save Life", the participants also waved placards carrying the message of water conservation.
The chief minister said about three lakh water bodies have been dug so far by the West Bengal government under the water conservation programme of 'Jal dharo Jal bharo' (Collect water, store water).
Reportedly, half of India is facing drinking water crisis with Chennai and Bengaluru bearing the brunt as monsoon got delayed and arrived without a brimming bucket.
Padayatra from Jorasanko Thakurbari to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Mayo Road on 'Save Water Day' | 'জল বাঁচাও দিবস' উপলক্ষে জোড়াসাঁকো ঠাকুরবাড়ি থেকে গান্ধী মূর্তি, মেয়ো রোড পর্যন্ত পদযাত্রা #2 https://t.co/grK3HJfwWl— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 12, 2019
According to NITI Aayog report India's 4 per cent population will not have access to clean drinking water by 2030. The report released last year predicts Day Zero for 21 Indian cities by next year. Day Zero refers to the day when a place is likely to have no drinking water of its own.
According to the Niti Aayog's Composite Water Management Index (CWMI), Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad are among the most susceptible. The government has created a new Jal Shakti ministry to deal with drinking water crisis.
It warned that the crisis would worsen with demand outstripping availability by a factor of two by 2030, which would lead to 6 per cent loss of India's GDP.
A 2018 World Bank report also said there was a direct link between the availability of water and poverty, quoting a study in India which estimated poverty rates to be higher by 9-10 per cent in districts where groundwater tables were below 8 metre, as per India Today report.
Centre's 'Jal Jeevan Mission' is likely to provide potable water to every rural household by 2024, as said by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the budget 2019. The ministry formed by integrated other existing ministries - Water Resources and Ministry of Drinking water and sanitation would work with state governments to ensure Har Ghar Jal to all rural households by 2024, said Sitharaman.
Mamata Banerjee urged the people to take "precautionary measures" to save the natural resource as water scarcity has become a major issue in the world. She concluded by saying that her government would observe a 'Student Day' to disseminate the message of conserving water in every sphere of the society.