Vijay Singh, MLA PDF Print E-mail

Student: Sir, I would like to ask you that in your life, what the importance of the River Narmada is.

MLA: For me The Narmada is a life giver and it is the only river in the country which flows east to West. And this river has a tradition unlike other rivers. They say taking a bath in the Ganga; you will be cured of your sins. But if you just visit the Narmada, all your troubles are driven away.

Student: In Madhya Pradesh there are rivers; around 5 of them. But the respect of a Mother has been only given to River Narmada. Why is it so?

MLA: As I have already mentioned before it is the only river which flows in the East West direction. Secondly, every person who is blessed by the river receives happiness and contentment.

Student: Sir your beliefs about the River Narmada have been passed on by your elders or has there been such an incident connected to the River Narmada, which has created this belief?

MLA: There is nothing as such. We respect the river as a mother and as God. Whenever we have been in trouble we have gone to the river bank and prayed and we have felt the positive effect of the same as well.

Student: Has there ever been a miracle connected to the River?

MLA: Everything that I have is due to the River Narmada. I started off from a small family in a village and I have now reached this position. This is because of the blessings of the River.

Student: Sir what are the measures that the Nagarpalika has taken to ensure the protection of the River Narmada?

MLA: The Nagarpalika has decided to divert the waste water from the city to a holding pond where it will be filtered and treated and then released into the river. This will prevent pollution of the river. Polythene, this country’s biggest problem is the primary reason for the pollution of rivers. I firmly believe that till the use of polythene is not stopped, pollution in the rivers cannot be controlled. We have taken measures to control this, but we need the support of the public.

Student: A lot of schools are located on the riverbank of the Narmada. Are the students there taught anything different? Are they given more information about the river and so on?

MLA: No, all schools follow the same Syllabus which has been laid down. And at all schools the importance of the Narmada is taught to the students.

Students: This information on the importance of the Narmada is being given only in local schools here. Do you feel that this should be taught all over India as well?

MLA: Yes, it should be given. This is the only river which never dries up. It flows from the East to the West and our ancestors and saints have written down all the positive effects of this river. There are a lot of places on the banks of the river where saints have meditated through generations.

Student: Sir, the people living on the riverbanks, the adivasis; their lives are dependent on the River Narmada as well?

MLA: See, all the adjoining farming sectors are dependent on the River Narmada. This directly reaps benefits for the adivasis and the other people. The water level of the Narmada is around 150 feet so there is plenty of water for the people living on the banks and for the community too.

Student: During floods, the river spreads over its banks and affects the tribal communities and adivasis who stay on the banks of the river. Does the Government have a rehabilitation scheme for such a situation?

MLA: The State Government has started a project called Narmada Path. Along the banks of the river, the State Government will make Narmada Path and there are places where accident has happened and the Government is already working on the project to minimize this. There are lots of rivers which are drying up and trees are being felled. And all of us are not aware of the fact that the high temperatures which we are experiencing right now is due to deforestation. The Government has started a project called ‘Hairyali Chutki’ along the banks of the River Narmada. In every sector at a distance of 1 or 2 kilometers, organizations will plant trees. This is being done to ensure that there is no shortage of water. When the trees grow, their roots hold the soil and help retain water in the soil. And when there is excess water, the trees drain it out to the river.

Student: Sir, I would like to know what all are the occupations in Hoshangabaad which are connected to the river?

MLA: The people of Hoshangabaad try very hard to keep the river clean. Organizations help clean up the plastic bags and such organizations are school based, social service groups, the Nagarpalika and so on.

Student: The water for whole village of Hoshangabaad is supplied by the River Narmada itself?

MLA: Not directly. However, the river helps keep the water table high and thus using bore wells we use this water. The water tables are high here due to the river.

Student: In Hoshangabaad, how many people are dependent on the River Narmada for their daily bread and butter and for their business?

MLA: Well, there will be hundreds and thousands of people, especially from the Machli community, whose occupation is fishing. But there are certain areas where fishing is prohibited. Due to the fishes, the pollution is kept under check as well. So, there are thousands of people who benefit from the river. There are orchards on the bank of the river as well. The river generates employment for lakhs of people. When you will go and see, on the banks of the river there are ‘wadis’ where people plant fruits and vegetables generating more employment.

Student: Along the banks of the River Narmada there are a lot of temples; around 20 30 of them. According to you, which are the most important temples we should visit?

MLA: Well, all temples are equal. However there are temples like the Narmada Temple, Hanuman Temple and so on which you should see on the riverbanks.

Student: So during the rains and floods are these temples submerged?

MLA: No. They are situated on a higher ground. However during heavy floods, some are submerged

Student: What are the future plans for the River Narmada?

MLA: Right now, the general population of the city does not receive water from the River Narmada. However, there is a project underway where in the water from the River Narmada will be filtered and supplied to the whole city to reduce the dependency on bore wells. Due to the excessive use of bore wells, the water table has gone down in some parts. With this project, the bore wells will not be over used and the work on the filtration plants is already on

Student: This is a serious issue we would like to discuss, the Narmada Bachao Andolan. According to you, should the dam be built or no? And according to you, is the agitation heading in the right direction?

MLA:The damn should be built on the River Narmada. There are various benefits, electricity generation, benefits to the farmers and so on. The river flows continuously and you will see that. Before it reaches the sea, we can dam it and reap the benefits from it.

Student: But if you see from a different angle, the agitation is against any construction on the River Narmada. They are worried that due to the dam, various places will get submerged.

MLA: These places which are at a lower level will be shifted. The Government has already declared concessions for farmers. If the dam is not built, the water shortage which we are facing will continue. Electricity generation is the need of the hour all over India. But through these dams, and the resultant electricity generation will benefit a lot of industries. The River Narmada won’t stop flowing even if you dam the river.

Student: We have spoken to a lot of people and they are of the opinion that Gujarat will benefit more from the dam than Madhya Pradesh. Gujarat has already readied irrigation channels and canals and Madhya Pradesh still hasn’t.

MLA: There is work already started here in Madhya Pradesh on irrigation. We have diverted the river water for irrigation. Just like Gujarat, we are also doing the same. Only with the dam, can the water reach all people

Student: According to you, should there be big damn created or small dams?

MLA: Smaller damns should be created.

Student: Any reason?

MLA: Electricity generation can be started at a smaller level and the water levels at different places will be maintained. However, it is a problem to build smaller dams on the river.

MLA: Due to the flow of the river during monsoons and during floods, such dams are not strong enough to take the pressure

Student: Yesterday, the places you were telling us about, off the topic, we will let you know if we can visit that place because our research is on River Narmada; and the other place is on the River Pava. If we have time we will surely visit the place. Can you also let us know how we can contact the tribal’s who live there along the tribal belt?

MLA: We will send someone with you who will help you contact the tribal’s.

Student: We would like to speak to them for a couple of hours. Also, should we visit these places at night or during the day time?

MLA: Visit these places in the day time as the tribal’s live in forested areas. It is a little different that the environment in the villages and cities.

Student: We want to know should we reach there in the day time and then leave for Jabalpur in the evening or can we stay the night there?

MLA: You can definitely stay the night there. There is no issue as such. You can leave by 3 or 4pm. Anyway, Sir is heading in that direction so a couple of you can go ahead. There is no issue as such.

 

“You can learn a lot from a river; persistence and patience. In the beginning you go around an obstacle and over time you slowly break it down.”