A month after it was floated,the Mithi Sansad,has started the first leg of its work to revive the beleaguered Mithi river. Sansad,an initiative of environmentalists and citizen groups led by Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh,also known as the Waterman of India,has started working on the action plan.
We are designing a holistic plan to revive the river and also to develop the areas around it. We studied the Chitale Committee recommendations besides suggestions from environmental groups and Rajendra Singh for chalking out the primary action plan, said environmentalist Girish Raut.
Sansad is studying the land in the area. The river cannot be brought back to life without taking into account the changes that have taken place in the area; the nullah of the river,the catchment areas and the estuary. Our first target is to study these areas and how they have changed over the years, said Raut.
Sansad plans to immediately deal with encroachments in and around the area. Our first challenge is to remove encroachments like the copper dam,part of the reclaimed land and encroachment by people, said Raut. The group is roping in experts from the IIT and volunteers for the success of the action plan.
We will involve people from the IITs to get their viewpoint as they have been recommended by the Chitale Committee too, said Rishi Aggarwal,joint secretary of the Mangrove Society of India,Mumbai chapter.
But the plan has hit its first hurdle. Volunteers are hard to come by. Despite our best efforts we are not getting enough volunteers to start the work. We have been trying to involve people in and around the Mithi but the response has not been favourable so far, said Aggarwal.
This could be because of lack of awareness and to make people aware,the group plans to make the Mithi Yatra an annual affair. Sansad also plans to undertake yatras in and around other river systems in Maharashtra.
The idea is to study as many river systems as possible and come up with measures to bring the five key river systems of the city into life, said Raut.