National Green Tribunal order welcomed

AP at risk of turning into a desert: ‘Waterman of India’

Visakhapatnam: Lauding the recent order given by the National Green Tribunal, renowned environmentalists are calling for a nation-wide protest against the sand mafia to preserve rivers and water bodies in the country.

The NGT has levied an interim penalty of Rs 100 crore on the AP government for remaining silent on the illegal sand mining at Krishna river basin.

Environmentalists claim it as their victory in the fight against sand mafia.

Rajendra Singh, water conservationist from Rajasthan, spoke to the media on Monday about the necessity to form a committee to protect the sand in the state. He said, “Water scarcity will increase further if we ignore the encroachments and sand mafia.”

“Despite having sea, there is a risk of non-availability of water similar to Rajasthan. It is better to start working on water conservation before the fertile land of AP turns into a desert,” he warned.

Mr Singh, known as ‘Waterman of India’, has saved 12 rivers from sand mafia during the past 15 years. Earlier, he tried to tell AP Chief Minister about conserving Krishna river but there was no positive response from the state government.

As the NGT has directed the AP government to pay Rs 100 crore as compensation to the Central Pollution Control Board, other state governments would also take steps to avoid illegal sand mining, Mr Singh opined.

Prof Vikram Soni, another environmentalist and water activist from New Delhi, also asked people to preserve the water bodies of the state. He urged the local activists to safeguard the natural resources.

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