Vrindavan, 2017.03.31 (VT): A four-day Clean Ganga Drive (Ganga Swachhtaa Pakhwada) was celebrated from 28th March to 31st March, 2017 jointly by the Centre for Environmental Education and Friends of Vrindavan.
The awareness campaign was initially planned for the cities situated on the bank of the Ganga. But the twin cities of Mathura-Vrindavan, situated on the bank of the Yamuna, were included due to their great religious significance.
A painting competition on Yamuna pollution was organized at Prem Mahavidyalaya, Keshi Ghat, on 28th March. Students from several schools of Vrindavan participated in the competition. Samvid Gurukulam was awarded for the best painting.
Ganga Chaupal, a community meeting, was organized on the next day at Gopinath Bhavan on the bank of Yamuna. Several Brajwasis, saints and Yamuna bhakts participated in the chaupal to express their anguish on the pollution of the Yamuna.
It was a big day on the 30th of March as hundreds of people marched to Vishram Ghat in Mathura for cleaning the heritage ghats along the Yamuna there. Government officials, personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force, students, activists and priests joined the padyatra as a part of an awareness campaign for a pollution-free Yamuna. Hundreds of hands picked up brooms, spades and other cleaning tools and cleaned the bank of Yamuna.
A signature campaign was also organized during the shram daan, where people wrote their signatures on a large sign featuring an environmental message. A cultural programme also followed the event at Vishram Ghat.
On the last day of the campaign, a conference was organized on the subject of the Yamuna River at Bhramar Ghat, which was attended by a number of scholars, activists and Yamuna lovers. The conference demanded that Yamuna be declared a National Heritage Site.
Shri Jeetendra Patel, Programme Officer of the Centre for Environment Education said, “As a part of the Namami Gange initiative, a mass movement “Ganga Swacchata Pakhwada” was planned by the National Mission for Clean Ganga, part of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, for a fortnight between 16th March to 31st March 2017.”
“The programme envisaged to invite everyone to come together and contribute towards keeping river Ganga and its tributaries clean. The pakhwada campaign aimed at creating awareness and a sense of ownership among citizens regarding cleanliness and sanitation and to develop a sense of pride for the cities on the banks of the river Ganga, and the importance of keeping the river clean,” added Shri Patel.
Rosy Agrawal from the Ministry of Water Resources said, “Ganga and Yamuna are part of our national heritage for all of us, and they need to be conserved with the participation of all concerned. This can be achieved though a good education and communication strategy.”
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