Hyderabad: Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said that a 65-page draft National River Policy had been prepared, which would be presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the rally reaches New Delhi.
The Sadhguru’s ‘Rally for Rivers’, which commenced on September 3, reached Hyderabad from Vijayawada on Wednesday.
Protecting rivers should not be considered a programme but a responsibility, he said, as protecting rivers and conserving water would lead to better development.
“It’s important that rivers continue to flow and a comprehensive policy is required to ensure this,” he said.
“It’s sad to see states fighting for water. They should not fight for the amount of water used. Instead, they should think about amount of water flowing in rivers. There are policies on how to use and share the waters. Since rivers are a concurrent subject, the aim of the rally is to bring concurrence in all states,” he added.
He said encroachments on lakes and water bodies will only make mankind miserable. The cycle of drought and floods was because water bodies were not able to retain water; he suggested that fruit and medicinal trees be grown on a 1 kilometre radius of the catchment areas on either side of rivers.
“Driving through the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh, between Krishna and Godavari rivers, I observed 97 per cent loss of tree cover and 50 per cent depletion of water in the Krishna river,” the Sadhguru added.
Telangana state has surplus resources, which should be protected. Green cover and roads are better in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh compared to other states, he said.
He said his draft policy recommended tree cover up to a depth of one kilometre on either side of a river, trees on government land and fruit trees on farm land to ensure that moisture in the soil and the air feeds throughout the year. “This solution ensures that rivers are restored while also enhancing the livelihood of farmers significantly by gradually shifting from crop to trees cultivation as trees help keep rivers perennial, mitigate floods and drought, increase precipitation, mitigate climate change and prevent soil erosion, he suggested. The rally will reach New Delhi on October 2 after covering 16 states and 23 events in the major cities, travelling 7,000 km across India.