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Harish Rawat launches national Ganga rights campaign at Mahakumbh

Times of India – 23rd February, 2013

By Shailvee Sharda

ALLAHABAD: Union Minister for Water Resources, Harish Rawat who visted the Ganga Action Parivar Camp in the Kumbha Mela officially launched the National Ganga Rights Movement. The movement, which is being spearheaded by Ganga Action Parivar, is promoting the National Ganga Rights Act to protect and restore one of the world’s most precious and beloved river systems.

Addressing on the occasion, Rawat said, “Through the Ganga Rights Act, we can offer a new, important thought, we can change the direction of our society and protect future generations.” He deeply appreciated the great seva for Mother Ganga being done by Pujya Swami Chidanandji and Ganga Action Parivar.

Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji of the ganga action parivar stated that Ganga is polluted by nearly three billion litres of sewage and chemical waste every day. “Her rights are being violated, and in turn, our rights to clean water are being violated. People are getting sick. Children are dying. It’s time we say no more. Ganga has the right to flow in Her clean, pristine form. Ganga’s Rights are Our Rights,” he said.

The National Ganga Rights Act is proposed with the purposes of establishing, securing, and defending the inalienable and inherent rights of the Ganga River, its tributaries, and watershed, and the rights of the people of India to a healthy, thriving river basin. Further, the Act establishes the rights of the people of India and their governments to defend and enforce the rights of the Ganga

Members of Ganga Action Parivar explained that the Act is necessary because laws decreeing the rights of nature also grant legal authority to residents and governments to enforce and defend those rights. These laws change the status of ecosystems from being regarded as property to being treated as rights-bearing entities.

“If Ganga dies, India dies. If Ganga thrives, India thrives. In violating Her, we are violating basic human rights, and we are putting at risk the bright futures our children so greatly deserve. Now is the time for action. Let us all stand up and say, it’s time for the National Ganga Rights Act,”” said Sadhvi Bhagwati of the Ganga Action Parivar.

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