Dehradun: Doon based students' activist group Making a Difference by Being the Difference (MAD) has demanded the inclusion of the report prepared by the National Institute of Hydrology at Roorkee, which specifically provided for a rejuvenation roadmap for Doon's dying streams to be included as an integral part of MDDA's ambitious riverfront development program. NIH Roorkee had prepared this report in March 2014, interestingly on the direction of today's chief minister Mr. Harish Rawat who was then the Union Minister Water Resources. Acknowledging MAD's longstanding demand of reviving the dying streams, Rawat had written to NIH asking them to conduct such study in January 2014, following which the NIH expert study was carried out. The NIH report which was brought to the public domain by an RTI filed by MAD in the later months of 2014, clearly earmarked Rispana stream as a perennial stream and even included observations of local people on Bindaal stream that its water was so clear that people could bathe and use the same for household purposes.
Ever since the report has come, MAD has been demanding the implementation of NIH's findings, and sanction of budget requested by NIH for kick starting the revival project – which was to the tune of Rupees one crore. Due to one reason or the other, despite several presentations made directly to CM Rawat, this demand has been left in the lurch since the past 2 years. In 2015, MAD had made a presentation to the Hon'ble Governor at his residence on the state of dying streams of Doon valley. Mad had also appraised the governor of the NIH report and the need to implement its findings. Very recently, MAD members noted that the Governor had withheld the legislation setting up the riverfront development authority, citing of need of environmental approvals. MAD plans to again approach the Governor with the NIH report to request him to direct the state government to implement the same. These efforts assume significance in the light of the express deceleration by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest accepting the classification which MAD had explained to the then Union Minister Prakash Javadekar - that Rispana and Bindaal fall in 'Ganga Basin' and are hence entitled to enhanced protection. At one level, MAD members are meeting a number of senior officials from the Union Ministries of Environment Forests & Climate Change and Water Resources & Ganga Rejuvenation in a bid to convince both of them to take cognizance of the state of Doon's rivers and to formulate a roadmap for the implementation of the NIH Report.
After himself sanctioning the NIH Report as a Union Minister, since becoming Chief Minister, Mr. Harish Rawat's interest has been more in the riverfront development program, than the revival of Rispana and Bindaal. MAD members expressly stated that there is no front of any river possible in the absence of the river itself. The present state of Rispana and Bindaal rivers was reported by mad after they trekked over 40 kilometers in the 2 streams clicking photographs of their experience – which showed massive contamination of the literal remaining water of the 2 streams and encroachment climbing right up to their sources. MAD members noted that the Chief Minister has committed to the revival of the 2 streams in principle, but time is running short and a specific action roadmap for the revival of the streams is the need of the hour. MAD members have initiated a massive signature campaign and will soon submit the flex to MS. Uma Bharati, Union Minister for Water Resources, Rivers Development & Ganga Rejuvenation; and to CM Rawat and requesting them not to play with the environment of future generations and to understand that given the Kedarnath disaster and youth awakening there exists a substantial "green" vote bank in the state which is watching which side the government leans on.
The press conference was addressed by MAD's Founding President Mr. Abhijay Negi. Also present were members Karan Kapoor, Sarang Godbole, Himanshu, Pallavi Bhatia, Adarsh Tripathi, among others.