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Ganga Mukti Andolan (GMA), the body of fishermen and Jalkar Shramik (whose livelihoods directly depend on river Ganga) underlines government’s inactivity in saving Ganga, the life line of India.
GMA which celebrated its 36 th anniversary, blamed Farakka barrage for accelerating distraction and devastation into river’s nature, effecting not only hundreds of people but also changed the river’s ecology.
Kagzitola, a locality in the bank of river Ganga and the headquarters of GMA on this occasion overcrowded with noted social activists who vehemently condemned governments prolong ignorance on this serious issue related to Ganga. The 36 th anniversary passed several resolutions like urging government to take immediate measures on Farkka barrage’s aftermath and lifting the silts deposited in the river bed of Ganga.
Speakers like Prof Bijay, Ramsharan, Ramkishore, Ram Pujan, Prasadi Sahani, Uday and others while addressing the convention on “livelihoods of fishermen and others and threat on the existence of Ganga”, recalled the days in early nineties when GMA was fighting against the ‘Jalkar Jamindari’ (fishing right over the current of the river on the stretch of the river from Sultanganj to Pirpainty by a Bhagalpur based Jamindar family which had been continuing since the time of Mughal emperor Akbar). And finally Laloo Prasad Yadav’s government abolished the century old Jalkar Jamindari on 1991 under GMA’s continuous pressure, they claimed.
“But construction of Farakka barrage across the river in Bengal’s territory, some 80 kn east from here has proved to be inauspicious for many contents, the river rapidly losing its entire ecology and deposit of silt emerged as the main obstruction in the smooth flow of Ganga,” said Prof. Bijay, a senior teacher at Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University and an expert on Ganga affairs. Particular with the reference of high intensity floods which now has become a recurring affair in Ganga and changing of pattern of crops in Ganga’s fertile catchment plains, Prof. Bijay underlines the worst scenarios appearing in Farakk’s aftermath.
While echoing Prof Bijay, many speakers also pointed out the silent features which silently changing the river’s ecology. “We almost spent our lives with Ganga and know the river very closely. We have been observing Farakka barrage’s aftermath since after it constructed earlier but government hardly bother about such vast problem. If proper attention would not be taken, the days are not far away when this river would disappear,” said Ramkishore, a senior social activist.
GMA also expressed concerned over the rapid pollution to the river and urged the government to take some concreate steps immediate instead of announcing mambo-jumbo projects. “Government has planned many projects for making the river free from pollution but there is not a single measure to make the river pollution free from Baxur-Rajmahal (Jharkhand), the point where Ganga enters in Bihar and left to Jharkhand.
GMA also urged the government to start different welfare schemes for the fishermen and others. On the occasion of the anniversary, GMA mem taken out impressive procession with boats in the river in which boats from Bhagalpur, Munger along with Sahebganj (Jharkhand) and Malda (Bengal) were participated. The boats decorated with lamps, changed the entire scenarios last evening. The GMA also worshiped river Ganga with flouting 151 lamps on the river.
“Fishermen and Jalkar Shramiks still has to fight with the odds but the change of river’s ecology has discourage them mostly. The production of fishes from the river gradually decreasing, the lives of other aquatic plants and animals like dolphins in the river are at danger. If we would not pay attention immediately, we would soon lost the river,” said Phulki Devi, a fisherwomen in the function.