The Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the temple at Narmada Udgam Sthal – the origin of the River Narmada.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a roadmap for protecting the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh. He launched the Narmada Seva Mission at the Namami Devi Narmade Seva Yatra event that was held at Amarkantak in Anooppur district in MP.
Narmada Seva Yatra is an mass movement to protect the Narmada and conveys a larger message of saving the environment as well.
‘Namami Devi Narmade’ – is a campaign conceived and coordinated by the Government of Madhya Pradesh as a people’s movement to protect the environment.
The campaign rivet around a 148 day journey from Amarkantak to Sondwa and back to Amarkantak by a core team of fifty persons.
The yatra was coordinated with workshops and public meetings that will bring into focus the activities like afforestation, sanitation, soil and water conservation, pollution control measures and promotion of organic farming. The campaign aspired to bring into focus the need to conserve our rivers to protect our lives.
Narmada is the largest river of Madhya Pradesh State. Narmada river has its origin at holy place called Amarkantak in Anuppur district, at the height of approx. 3467 ft. from sea level. Narmada flows from east to west and merges with the Arabian Sea near Surat city in Gujarat.
The Narmada river flows over a length of 1,312 km before draining through the Gulf of Khambhat into the Arabian Sea. Narmada, also known as Rewa, is one of only three major rivers in the country that flows from east to west. The other two are Tapti and Mahi.
Narmada River is the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. It is the fifth largest river of Indian subcontinent. Narmada in Sanskrit means “Giver of Pleasure”. To the Hindus the Narmada is one of the seven holy rivers of India; the other six being Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Sindhu and Kaveri.
According to Hindu mythology, River Ganges acquired the form of a black cow and immersed in the holy water of river Narmada, to cleanse herself. There are several places of religious significance along Narmada such as Amarkantak, Maheshwar and Omkareshwar. Many people undertake a pilgrimage along the river, which is called the ‘Narmada parikrama’.
Conservation of Narmada:
Of late, the exploitation of the resources of the River Narmada has been a cause for concern, mostly with regards to prevention of pollution, conservation of the catchment of the river and sustainable use of the river and its resources.
To highlight the importance of Narmada and its conservation the State Government has planned to coordinate an awareness campaign called ‘Namami Devi Naramde.
‘Namami Devi Narmade’ Objectives:
To increase awareness about the need for conservation of river Narmada and sustainable use of its resources.
Plantation at the banks of river Narmada for protection of riparian zone and reduction in soil erosion.
To suggest remedial action in the field of river conservation and promotion of eco friendly agricultural practices.
To identify various sources of river pollution and to resolve the same through public awareness and participation.
Contours of the ‘yatra:
The ‘yatra began on December 11, 2016 from Amarkantak(Anuppur District). It came to an end on May 15, 2017 at the same location after covering both banks of the river.
A core group of fifty people lead the ‘yatra. The core group will comprise of experts in various fields such as river conservation, sanitation, agriculture, organic farming and forest and environment.
The ‘yatra was mainly by afoot. The ‘yatra also involve organizing public meetings, seminars, plantation drives etc and focus on increasing awareness on sanitation, promotion of organic farming, reduction in pollution and conservation of the riparian zone of Narmada.
The Narmada River flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh for a distance 1,077 km approximately, covering 16 districts and 51 blocks from Amarkantak in Anuppur district to Sondawa in Alirajpur district.
Through the ‘yatra’ atleast 600 villages/places in the complete stretch of the river will be visited.
At least 03-04 lakh people will be contacted and be made aware of river conservation.
Propagation of government initiatives for Narmada river conservation.
Organic farming shall be adopted by more people.
Plantation in riparian and catchment areas of River Narmada will increase.
People will become more alert and assertive toward any cause of pollution in River Narmada.
Major causes of river pollution will be identified and the community will become aware and start taking corrective steps.