Since early evidence of civilization, the rivers played an important role in nurturing life and economic activities. One of the oldest civilizations like Harrapan also flourished on the river bank and witnessed trade and other economic activities during their time.
But in the last few decades with rising industrialization and the fast pace of urbanization, the health of rivers in India has deteriorated at a fast pace. The increasing demands of the rising population have also put pressure on the country’s river ecosystem and also endangered the social and economic life along it.
However, the government has understood the long-term implications of this deterioration and thus in the last few years has taken many steps to revive the Indian rivers such as the Namami Gange project for integrated river conservation. In 2019 the extension of this mission is also felt and the Prime Minister of India himself has urged to extend its scope to revive the economy of India’s largest river basin through the “Arth Ganga” project.
“Arth Ganga” at its core implies the concept of sustainable development through a focused approach to revive the economic activities on the river bank by working on six distinct verticals. It includes the promotion of chemical-free farming and increasing use of cow dung as organic fertilizer to improve soil fertility along with the reuse techniques and revenue generation sources from sludge and wastewater, developing opportunities to provide livelihood, higher public participation, establishing it as a cultural heritage and tourism attraction with improved water governance through empowered institutions and administration.
The move is aimed to effectively address the abetment of pollution on the banks of river Ganga in the journey of its rejuvenation along with a special focus on boosting the river economy and providing thrust to trade through the development of inland waterways. This will provide inclusive growth to India’s farmers, and small traders including work opportunities for local villagers.
As a whole, it will add up to the country’s economic growth with the energization of India’s holy river Ganga which will eventually help to mitigate the challenges of climate change sustainably and establish the river-people connect to co-exist in harmony.