People in Bihar turned up in unexpected numbers this Sunday, January 19, 2020, to extend support to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's flagship campaign 'Jal Jivan Hariyali.'
Over 5 crore people from across the state joined hands to form a "maanav shrinkhla" (human chain) resembling the map of Bihar. The event was to bring attention to environmental conservation and fighting social issues like child marriage, dowry and consumption of alcohol in the state.
Bihar Government's Jal Jivan Hariyali mission focuses on the conservation of traditional water resources, afforestation, fighting climate change among other objectives.
CM Nitish Kumar, along with Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, the cabinet ministers, and certain government officials participated in an 18,034 km human chain to make people aware of climate change, social ills such as dowry and child marriage. The event took place at Gandhi Maidan from 11:30 am to noon.
Commenting on the huge turnout, Kumar said it is an unparallel show of people's support to the state government's initiative to protect the environment.
Later, Kumar in a series of tweets stressed that this human chain will be another milestone in creating awareness about environmental conservation and social reform campaigns.
आज जल-जीवन-हरियाली अभियान तथा नशा मुक्ति अभियान के पक्ष में तथा बाल विवाह एवं दहेज प्रथा के विरोध में 5,16,71,389 बिहारवासियों ने ऐतिहासिक 18,034 कि.मी. लंबी मानव शृंखला बनाई। (1/3)https://t.co/eTSH2ZAdXe#BiharHumanChain2020 #ManavShrinkhala2020 #JalJivanHariyali #मानव_शृंखला pic.twitter.com/BSwwbQ5SjU— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) January 19, 2020
पर्यावरण संरक्षण तथा जलवायु परिवर्तन एवं अन्य सामाजिक सुधार के अभियानों के प्रति जागरूकता फैलाने में यह मानव शृंखला मील का पत्थर साबित होगी।(2/3)https://t.co/eTSH2ZAdXe#BiharHumanChain2020 #ManavShrinkhala2020 #JalJivanHariyali #मानव_शृंखला pic.twitter.com/Lhl9FO7LkP— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) January 19, 2020
In 2017, with an estimated length of 11,000 kilometres, the first human chain was formed in the state against alcoholism and liquor consumption. The very next year, another one with an estimated length of 13,500 km was formed against child marriage and dowry.
Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar, while speaking to the reporters, informed about the state's human chains that were formed in the earlier years. He also added that a total of seven helicopters had been engaged into service for capturing aerial images of the event and more than 100 drone cameras have clicked photographs of the human chain.
The Waterman of India, Rajendra Singh and United Nations Environment Programme's country head for India Atul Bagai also attended the event.
While addressing the media, Singh praised the efforts of the Bihar government and the 'Jal Jeevan Hariyali' campaign and said, "If India can dream of becoming Vishwa Guru, one of the reasons is our age-old tradition of respecting nature. No praise is too high for Nitish Kumar's thrust on environment conservation."
Opposition parties sprang up to the opportunity to criticize the event, calling it an "extreme waste of public money and government resources."
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav slammed the Nitish Kumar's government on the sorry-state of employment in the state. He further questioned Kumar's decision to spend crores of rupees to hire helicopters for the human chain event coverage but no heed was paid when floods ravaged the state.
सोशल मीडिया को कैसे ख़रीदोगे पलटू बाबू @NitishKumar ? करोड़ों रुपए शिक्षा, स्वास्थ्य और रोज़गार पर लगाते? अपराध, महँगाई, भ्रष्टाचार और बेरोज़गारी के ख़िलाफ़ मानव शृंखला बनाते तो टोटल पूरा नहीं करना पड़ता। आशा है सबक़ मिला होगा? pic.twitter.com/InDzlqiL8l— Rashtriya Janata Dal (@RJDforIndia) January 20, 2020
Tejashwi Yadav's elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav also lashed at the government saying the opposition would have appreciated the efforts had the CM organized a rozgar shrinkhla (employment chain) for providing jobs to unemployed youth instead of the manav shrinkhla ( human chain).