Is River Ganges drying in Varanasi

   Mar 1, 8:01 pm

Varanasi, Mar 1 (ANI): Residents, particularly, the boatmen community in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi city expressed concern over the rapid decrease in the depth of water of the River Ganges.

Over the years the residents have been witnessing a constant dip in the water-level. And, this has turned the people a worried lot, as the river has receded substantially from its shores and the depth has decreased.

The shrinking river has left huge silt deposits on the banks.

Babloo, a boatman bemoaned the river continues to bear the peril, as water held by Tehri dam in northern Uttrakhand state has led to the situation.

"The main reason of the silt accumulation on the riverside is the Tehri Dam. Unless the dam is released, the width of Ganges will not be increased. In the last 12 years the width of the river has considerably decreased. The boatmen are finding it very difficult to survive and the government is apathetic towards us," he said.

The occurrence has posed serious problems to the ferries, which were earlier used by tourists for boat rides and other transport activities across the state.

Vinod Sahani, activist of Save Ganges Committee, a non-governmental organisation alleged the government's apathy towards the situation.

"The boatmen community will be wiped out. The people of this community, who are around 50,000 in number, make their living by rowing boats, fishing, searching for coins in the river and selling flowers on the riverside. This whole community will be wiped out and the government will not be able to do anything," he said.

Fishermen claimed that forest department's decision against removing the deposited silt from banks to save the turtles has resulted in the huge deposition.

The fishermen and boatmen have often questioned the existence of a turtle sanctuary on River Ganges and say that the sanctuary negatively impacts river.

Environmental scientist B. D. Yadav, however, gave massive deforestation in the Himalayas as the main reason of the sedimentation.

"Whenever there is a decrease in the flow of water, the rate of siltation increases. Now, it is seen that a major deforestation is happening in the source of Ganges. This leads to the erosion of soil during monsoons and silt deposition into the river and the riverbed level is rising," he said.

The Indian government last year approved a one billion dollar loan from the World Bank, to fund an eight-year project to clean the River Ganges, large stretches of which are heavily polluted by industrial and domestic waste.

The 2,510-kilometre-long river that runs from a glacier in the western Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh supports over 400 million of India's 1.2 billion population. (ANI)

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