Environmentalist and water conservationist Rajendra Singh, known as ‘Waterman of India’, has criticised the central government for making the Ganga more polluted than before and called the Namami Gange programme a “mere beautification effort”.
“The Ganga today is more polluted than before. Projects like Namami Gange have been limited to merely beautifying the surroundings rather than actually cleansing or removing pollutants from the river,” said Singh, adding that many small and big rivers have dried up.
There are more than 352 districts in the country, spanning 16 states, including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra, which are facing drought-like situations, he said.
More than 90 per cent of small rivers have dried up, leading to an acute water crisis in many areas, he added.
“But the political parties seem to be only interested in coming to power instead of addressing the real issues faced by people,” he said.
While the Congress, in its manifesto released last week, promised to address the poor air quality and enact measures to curb it if elected, Singh said political parties have still not realised the importance of environment.
“No political party recognises issues related to water, environment or air quality as one of the vital issues affecting
the lives of people in India,”
he said, urging people to vote for leaders who will bring changes in the condition of water resources and rivers in the country.
He also asked voters to reject leaders who are attempting to divide Indian society on the basis of religion, caste and creed.
Political parties, Singh alleged, only sought votes to beat opponents and that the “scenario of spreading lies” must end.
“India, which followed ‘Satyameva Jayate’ has now become ‘Jhootmeava Jayate’. I appeal to people and expect our political leaders to not spread lies, threaten or misuse the position that people have given them. They must vote for leaders who will work to unite people from all walks,” he said.