April 8th, 2016
Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal is popularly known as “Eco-Baba” in India and abroad for his various achievements in conserving the environment. His most significant environmental achievement is a rejuvenation of Guru Nanak’s historic river Kali Bein, the 160-km long tributary of Beas, flowing through Punjab.
How did he do it? Sant Seechewal gathered a large number of volunteers to help him on his mission to clean Kali Bein in 2000. At that time, Kali Bein — struck with severe domestic and industrial pollution — was on the verge of dying. Sant Seechewal, with his volunteers, cleared the hyacinth and silt out of the river bed and restored the normal flow of clean water. They beautified the river banks with flowers and fruit trees, bathing ghats and brick roads. With this restoration, all the water problems in the Doaba area of Punjab were solved. It proved to be beneficial for the people of Punjab, both economically and environmentally.
Balbir’s sewage model With the help of Punjab government, Sant Seechewal has devised an underground sewerage system model, which is a low-cost indigenous model to store sewage waters in ponds and treat it in a natural way for usage in agriculture and irrigation. Around 50 villages have been beneficial with this model. With the availability of water, farmers can indulge in organic farming. Earlier, many of the farmers had committed suicides owing to crop failures due to lack of water.
Even the government has sought his help The Central Government has also approached Sant Seechewal for implementation of the Seechewal Model in the cleaning of Ganga. The Government is looking forward to rejuvenating the Ganga with the help of people’s participation in rural areas of the states through which it passes, as reported by TribuneIndia.
He is more than an environmentalist Sant Seechewal’s works have been widely praised across India and abroad. APJ Abdul Kalam, in many of his speeches, has praised Seechewal’s work as a role model for the nation. Not only the environment, Sant Seechewal has worked for society as well trying to eradicate poverty, ignorance, superstition, atrocities against women. He has established schools, technical centres and degree colleges at different places, where not only advanced and technical education is provided at a very low cost to the girls and the poor slum dwellers, but moral and religious values are also taught to the students in order to make them better and balanced human beings. Many national and international organizations have showered honours on him for his achievements in different fields of environmental up gradation and public welfare. Internationally renowned magazine Time has acclaimed Sant Seechewal as “Hero of Environment”. He is the only Indian and only Asian to get this honour.
The Logical Indian applauds the contribution of Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal in the field of restoring the environment. He has proved if people work together for the larger cause of society and environment we can overcome any problem. Taking forward Sant Balbir Singh’s work, let us strive to come together on a common ground to solve the issues of the society and environment