Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the concluding function of Narmada Seva Yatra on Monday. He will release a road-map for steps to be taken for the revival of the river, which is seen as Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat’s lifeline. The Madhya Pradesh government has made arrangements to bring tens of thousands of people to attend the function. The yatra was flagged off on December 11 as part of a campaign to clean the Narmada. It will conclude at Amarkantak, where the river originates from.
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, BJP chief Amit Shah, Union minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, saints, water conservationists, film stars and artists have attended various legs of the yatra. Officials said that around 200 people have been part of the yatra to create awareness for keeping the river clean. The government had earlier announced that sewage will not be allowed to flow into the river.
Officials said that over 24 lakh people have so far attended 1,000-plus programmes held as part of the yatra. About 80,000 volunteers have registered themselves for the campaign. On July 2, saplings will be planted on the banks of the river.
The state assembly had earlier passed a resolution declaring the holy river a living entity. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced that a bill to provide legal framework to the resolution passed on May 3 will be brought in the assembly in the next session. Liquor shops located within five km of the river have been shifted.
The Congress has dismissed the campaign as a “political yatra” and accused the government of misusing funds for development and welfare to make Modi’s visit successful. Opposition leader Ajay Singh said that over 5,300 buses have been arranged to bring more than two lakh people for the function. The Congress has alleged that Chouhan and his family have benefited from carrying out illegal mining in the river.