Restoration, rejuvenation of Narmada river a priority: MP CM Chouhan

| Updated: Dec 17, 2016 17:13 IST

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], Dec. 17 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who recently launched the Narmada Seva Yatra at Amarkantak on Saturday, said restoration and rejuvenation of the river is a priority. "The people of Madhya Pradesh worship Narmada ji. There is a spiritual connection with Narmada ji. But if we see it from scientific point of view, it was necessary to start a campaign to save Narmada.a campaign which is not governmental and through which the common people get attached. Restoration and rejuvenation work of Narmada is a priority," Chouhan said in an exclusive interview with Smita Prakash, Editor, ANI. Asserting that Narmada and Madhya Pradesh' development have a deep relationship, Chouhan said if the state has done development its main reason is progress made in agriculture. "The agricultural growth rate of Madhya Pradesh is 20 plus for the last four years. In the last four years, we have expanded the growth rate of grains by two percent. We have done great job in horticulture and other fields as well. We were able to do it because of water. I think if there is any biggest flow in Madhya Pradesh that is Narmada ji," he added. The Madhya Pradesh chief minister asserted that Narmada is Madhya Pradesh' life line. "After becoming chief minister, I decided to distribute the water of Narmada in various parts. Malwa was gradually becoming a desert. Experts used to say that if it doesn't get water then the entire area will get converted into a desert. The experts told me only one lift the water of Naramada," he added. He said there was no alternative than to use the water of Narmada in order to save Malwa. "Then we joined Narmada with Shipra River. Then we thought of joining Narmada with Gambhir and Parvati. I thought of not doing canal irrigation and use water through pipelines for the farmers who can use it with sprinklers," he added. Chouhan said that as there was deficit of electricity in Madhya Pradesh, the water of Narmada was used. "Narmada gives water for agriculture, drinking and electricity. Narmada is such a river whose water doesn't come out from any glacier. When we saw Narmada getting dry, we thought of doing a campaign of saving Narmada. We included the common man, NGOs and other organisations," he added. "There is forest land, revenue land near Narmada. So we thought of planting trees there. We would like to plant such trees which can stop the water for a long time. But we thought it might affect the farmers. So we decided that those farmers who plant trees of fruits, the government will give a compensation for three years," Chouhan said. He said he has decided on inter-cropping as well and educating the farmers on the same. The five-month Narmada Seva Yatra aims at turning the Narmada river pollution free and unceasing river. The Narmada Sewa Yatra will create awareness about the conservation of the river. The river covers more than 1,900 kilometres and moves across 16 districts. All the villages along the river will have a Narmada Sewa Samiti to take follow up action on measures to be undertaken for its preservation. Trees will be planted along the banks of the Narmada and sewage water will be treated before it flows into the river. (ANI)