Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan informed the state Assembly that he would embark on a five-month long awareness campaign for ensuring a pollution-free Narmada.
“Narmada is the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh. A foot-march -Narmada Sewa Yatra under Namami Devi Narmade campaign is being launched for conservation of river and making it pollution free,” Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.
“The foot-march would start on December 11 from Amarkantak where the Narmada originates. The Yatra would end on May 11 next year,” said Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The source of Narmada’s waters was the adjoining forest lands and hilly areas, he said.
“Therefore afforestation is being planned up to one kilometre deep on both banks. Farmers would be encouraged to plant fruit trees,” he said, adding they would be given a compensation of Rs 20,000 per hectare till they start earning from the trees on their land.
A campaign for construction of toilets in the villages on the riverbank would be undertaken with a focus on making these areas open-defecation free. Treatment plants to stop the flow of waste and sewage into the river will be built, he said.
Immersion ponds will be constructed so that people do not dump pooja material in the river and cremation sites would also be developed in the towns along the banks, he said.
“Narmada Sewa Samiti will be formed in the villages and towns for monitoring of these conservation works,” he said, urging MLAs from all the parties to join in the efforts to conserve the river.
Acting Leader of Opposition Bala Bachchan intervened to demand that mining along the riverbank be stopped.
“We must take care that this campaign does not become a political issue,” he added.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan said no illegal mining would be allowed along the banks of Narmada. On stopping all kind of mining, he said the decision would be taken only after consulting the experts.