Gayatri Pariwar begins Ganga cleaning awareness campaign



Worried at the increasing pollution in the Ganga, the All World Gayatri Pariwar, a religious group with followers in different cities, Sunday initiated a programme for the cleaning and conservation of the holy river.

The programme, named Nirmal Ganga Abhiyan-Bhagirathi Jalabhishek began with a two-day special training camp at Shantikunj-Haridwar.

On the occasion, manager of Shantikunj Haridwar, Gaurishankar Sharma, asserted that the process of cleaning the Ganga would begin with the cleaning of one's own self.

Under the Nirmal Ganga Abhiyan (clean Ganga campaign) volunteers of the Gayatri Pariwar would reach every home to expand public awareness.

The aim of the programme, Sharma said, was to clean the river right from Gomukh (the snout of the Gangotri glacier, from where the Bhagirathi, one of the tributaries of the Ganga, originates) to Gangasagar (the delta islands, where the river meets the Bay of Bengal after flowing over 2,500 km).

"It is a very big movement and will not only last for these two days of the training camp; it will remain a long-lasting learning process," the head of one zone of the Pariwar, Kalicharan Sharma, said, explaining that for the purpose of the clean-up programme, the river had been divided into five sectors.

The cleaning project would be taken up from April 1. A detailed survey is part of the project, so that information about social, religious, educational organizations in the different towns and villages on the river banks, the number of ghats at different locations, local festivals, types of industries, governing bodies, medicinal plants, levels of pollution etc. can all be recorded.

The survey work is expected to end in June.

A vast "public awakening campaign" is set to begin during the Hindu calendar period called Chaturmas. As part of this, marches will be held, and posters and banners put up.

In the last phase, the cleaning programme will begin, and dense forestation on the banks of the river is also planned.

Memos, peaceful demonstrations and tools like public interest litigation (PIL) may be used for the purpose if needed, the Gayatri Pariwar said.

More than 500 volunteers are likely to take part in the training session. - IANS