The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, today called for a powerful national campaign on the need to rejuvenate our rivers and suggested that ‘we save our rivers with a sense of immediacy’.
Noting that rivers have always been revered in India for their life-regenerating power, Shri Naidu pointed out that growing urbanization and industrialization have led to pollution of rivers and other water bodies in different parts of the country. “In the past, our villages and cities used to be dotted with several water bodies. In the quest for modernization, man, driven by greed, has destroyed natural ecosystems and at several places, the water bodies have virtually disappeared or have been encroached upon”, he observed.
The Vice President, who arrived in Guwahati today on a tour of the North East, began his trip by inaugurating the Heritage-cum-Cultural Centre on the banks of river Brahmaputra. He also visited the museum at the Centre and released a coffee-table book ‘Forever Guwahati’ on this occasion.
Later in a Facebook post, Shri Naidu described his experience of visiting Assam and the river Brahmaputra as unforgettable. He wrote that he was ‘awestruck by the natural beauty of the Brahmaputra, viewed from a splendid riverside garden. I will cherish this memory for a long time.’ He added that the great river, providing livelihood to millions of people, is an integral part of the region’s culture and history.
Noting the importance of rivers and their rejuvenation, Shri Naidu suggested to the Centre and the state governments to include lessons on the importance of water conservation in school curricula. He also suggested that schools should conduct nature camps for students from a young age so that children, especially those living in the urban areas, see and enjoy the splendor of nature.
The Vice President noted the legacy of the hillock where the heritage centre is located as the base camp of the most powerful Borphukan of the Ahom Kingdom, Lachit Borphukan. During the visit, Shri Naidu witnessed several sections of the centre like the art gallery, the Central Hall with the theme ‘Life Along the River’ and ‘Majuli Corner’, containing famed masks, panel paintings and other artifacts.
Shri Naidu appreciated the fact that the heritage campus is pedestrian only and vehicular traffic has been prohibited to maintain the serenity of the place. He suggested other heritage centres around the country too should adopt such green and healthy practices, by creating walking and cycling paths for visitors to explore.