Bhubaneswar: Amidst reports of environment and water pollution and ongoing Mahanadi water dispute between two neigbouring states, Odisha Environment Congress-2017 was kicked off here today.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated 8th edition of Odisha Environment Congress at Regional Museum of National History.
Speaking on the occasion Patnaik stressed on the significance of rivers in the development of human civilization.
“Rivers are integrally involved with the growth and development of human civilization. It is thus the responsibility of society to ensure that the rivers live in good health and continue to serve the humanity is a sustainable manner,” he said.
He talked about water sharing conflict – the burning issue that spoils the healthy relations among the states.
“The gluttony for water, territorial approach to ownership over river water and utter disregard to environmental needs of the river system has most often led to water conflict. Unless all riparian State respect the basic philosophy and principles of equitable sharing of river water with due regard to its health and follow the territorial approach, such conflicts are bound to magnify in future and lead to disharmony in the country,” Patnaik said.
Such attempts must be addressed by following judicious approach of the needs of each of the stake-holders including that of the river. None of the stake-holders is allowed to shy away from their mandated responsibilities towards healthy river system, he said.
Several programmes were launched in Odisha for water conservation, rain water harvesting and ground water recharge in a sustainable manner.
Recently, the state government has started an ambitious plantation programme for plantation of two crore trees within radius of 1km along both sides of the Mahanadi River and other major rivers for water and soil conservation.
“An integrated approach to river basin management is needed with focus on water-use-efficiency in both agriculture as well as industry. This may save adequate water for the river to serve itself. Conscious efforts by all to reduce pollution load on the river system would be beneficial to both human society as well as to the nature,” Patnaik said.
He also laid emphasis on the healthy society and water policy.
“My government strongly believes that healthy rivers are required for healthy society. We are committed to equitable distribution as well as sustainable utilization of water available on the earth. Our State Water Policy recognizes drinking water supply and environmental needs as the priority areas of water use followed by agriculture and hydro-power generation,” he said.
The CM hoped that Odisha Environment Congress-2017 will provide implementable solutions for the best management of water resources to meet the future needs of people.
Noted environmentalist Rajendra Singh, who attended the programme, also stressed on healthy rivers. He appreciated the Water Policy and water management efforts of Odisha government.