Hindon river historically referred to as the Harnandi, is a tributary of Yamuna. It rises in the Lower Himalayas. The river is over 280 km long and flows through seven districts of western Uttar Pradesh and ends in Gautam Buddha Nagar.
“When I got posted in this area, I found the river highly polluted and turning into a drain. Not only this, the polluted water has deteriorated everything, and I thought I should do something to make it better”, said Dr Prabhat Kumar, the Divisional Commissioner of Meerut to The Logical Indian.
Nirmal Hindon Initiative
In a major long-term bid to clean up and rejuvenate the ‘dead river’ Hindon and reverse the river’s damage, the divisional commissioner of Meerut, Dr Prabhat Kumar set up a public funding account – Nirmal Hindon Kosh – with the Allahabad Bank. Contributions can be made for the revival and rejuvenation plan of the Hindon river, where donations by government agencies, residents, associations, and others will be accepted as part of Hindon river.
“When I got posted three months ago in this area, I found the river highly polluted and turned into a drain. Not only this, the polluted water had percolated down, polluting the whole soil. The handpumps had also started discharging polluted water”, said Dr Kumar, adding, “In one of the cases, The National Green Tribunal (NGT) also ordered the removal of these hand pumps because the water was not portable”.
“The whole scenario was striking my subconscious and I thought why cannot we rejuvenate this polluted river and then, I started this initiative,” he said.
Dr Kumar said that a large number of people are now associated with this endeavor apart from government machineries. A large number of NGO’s, Centre Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Pradhans of the surrounding villages are also helping in the rejuvenation and revival of Hindon river.
There are more than 800 villages which are established at the bank of Hindon river, the workshops regarding the revival and protection of Hindon river are being conducted already. Plantation process is also being planned for a week on the bank of the river from 19 to 26 August.
“We are planning more than 300,000 plants to be planted at the river bank. Then we have a plan to control industrial effluents, sewage water, clean all the waste from the water, we have to start organic farming in nearby villages,” said Dr Kumar.
A swift contribution
Dr Prabhat Kumar said while talking to The Logical Indian that the authorities are focusing on the cleaning up the river and preventing further pollutants in two of its tributaries named the Krishni and Kali rivers. The account has received Rs 1 crore from the Meerut development authority, while the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) is digging ponds in different parts of the district. People can donate only through checks and drafts not by cash. The amount of Rs 11,000 from public have also been donated till now to the Hindon river cause.
He said, “once the departments start contributing, other agencies, associations, public sector, undertakings, industries, then the government would also be requested to allot funds for the same.” Dr Kumar further added that the whole idea was to have community participation and a change in the mindset of people.
Online help portal
Dr Kumar said that the website about the Hindon river is under process. “We are in the process of developing a website about the same cause, we got a domain which is Nirmalhindon.in, said Dr Kumar, adding that all the important details will be included in the website like; the information regarding the river, sewage treatment plants, drains and industries around it.
Once a lifeline, now a ‘dead river’
As per the earlier report by Hindustan Times, official records were depicting that 151 of the 400 villages on the banks of the river, including Begrajpur, have reported ailments like cancer, neurological and digestive disorders and skin and respiratory infection due to the contaminated water.
88-year-old, Abdul Qadir Ansari, said that he had been witness to the ‘slow death’ of the Hindon river that passes through his village back yard. The deterioration had started in the 1980s when factories started coming up in the area. Until then, the villagers would drink water from this river.
He said, “Jitna khana nahi khate, us se dugna yahan log dawaiyan khate hain (People here consume more medicines than food).”
Contribution of Neer Foundation
Neer Foundation is working on the Hindon river since 2006 where the first technical study on the river was done. They started a campaign on Hindon river in 2016 with a slogan ‘My Hindon, My Initiative’ which lists what the common people of the villages that are established near or at the river bank can do to save it.
Raman kant, the Director of Neer Foundation said, “We came up with a website – Myhindonmyinitative.org, and a facebook page regarding the awareness and other issues about the Hindon river”.
He said that the Divisional Commissioner has shown courage and enthusiasm and started the initiative about Hindon river. “We spoke to the Divisional Commissioner and he gave a very positive response on the issue. He named the whole campaign (My Hindon, My Initiative) which we had started a year ago, as ‘Nirmal Hindon Initiative.’”
Neer foundation was founded in 2004 and is working towards environmental protection, developing a sustainable environment for all by means of grassroots level activities, policy advocacy, mass awareness, community action, field demonstration and information dissemination.
Raman Kant also said that after a long research, we have found the origin of the Hindon river which is in Saharanpur District from Shivalik Hills. To confirm and channelise this, the Divisional commissioner of Meerut and Saharanpur, Irrigation department and National Institute Of Hydrology are visiting the place.