Digvijay wants a new lease of life for India's 'oldest' river
Sehore: Congress veteran Digvijay Singh, who is on `Narmada Parikrama' yatra since the last four months, is worried about the plight of the revered river due to illegal sand mining, and wants urgent measures to ensure its revival.
The 70-year-old former Chief Minister and his wife Amrita started `parikrama' (circumambulation ) of the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh as a "religious and spiritual" exercise.
Singh said the Narmada is the "oldest" river in India and advocated its revival. "Rampant illegal sand mining with machines is being done in the river. Roads have been built in the bed of the river," he said.
To back his claim, Singh pointed at temporary roads that have come up for sand excavation in the Narmada at Babri area in Narsullaganj tehsil of the Budhni constituency represented by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
"Such is the worrisome condition of Narmada - the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh," he said. "The flow of the Narmada is much reduced. Water from the dams constructed on it should be released at regular intervals to maintain the flow," said Singh, who embarked on the yatra on foot on September 30 from Narsinghpur district.
His Narmada yatra is likely to conclude by March-end after covering a distance of more than 3,000km.
"The state government should launch a crackdown on the illegal mining in the river," he demanded.
During his march, he is often handed petals and sweets. Long-bearded priests of temples on the sides of the river come running when they see Singh in their midst.
They address him `Raja Sahab' and his journalist-wife `Rani Sahiba' and request them to visit their temples to pay obeisance. "The water in the river has become brackish and unfit for drinking, especially before the Narmada flows into the Arabian Sea in Gujarat," the former CM said as he is greeted by the Hindu faithful with "Narmada Har" chants during the yatra.