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Water Parliament initiative to protect 6 TN rivers launched

AWARENESS on conserving water bodies is at a high due to the unprecedented drought. To fur-ther safeguard the precious re-source, River Water Parliament, a people's body was launched here on Tuesday to monitor and develop major rivers running in the State. The parliament, which has members from the grass roots, would work over the next 10 years with dedicated plans and proposals to ensure proper flow of as many as six major rivers in the State. The parliament was proposed by representatives of Retrieval of Tamil Nadu Rivers and Water Resources from various walks of life, to emulate the success of efficient water harvesting practised and monitored by the Arvari River Parliament in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Though resolutions adopted in the parliament do not enjoy legal sanctity and are not binding on the administration, one hopes the State government would ac-knowledge its functioning as is happening in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Six rivers, including Cauvery, Vaigai, Palaru, Thamirabarani, Thennennai and Knthavar in Kanniyakumaridistrict would be ensured their environmental rights. "With the participation of people, including village-level members from all panchayats close to major rivers in the State, we can pass resolutions in Grama Sabha meetings to protect the water.  River parliaments are expected to take care of expenses through crowd funding. Provided the government recognises them, it might be allotted funds, Corporates could also pitch in through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Functions Monitor if sand quarrying is as per norms Draft proposals, conduct feasibility studies for small check dams Identify encroachments and alert stakeholders for foresail action
ter bodies from various threats. Besides, if the Tamil Nadu government follows the Rajasthan model in recognising river parliaments by sanctioning adequate funds, we can safeguard rivers flowing inside the borders and possibly address disputes related to the water bodies," said D Gurusamy, a senior advocate with the Madurai HC bench and coordinator of the movement. A protection committee for each of the six rivers, comprising six to seven members including farmers and activists was constituted on Tuesday. Organisers said each of the rivers would have a parliament and members from riparian villages and ayacutdars would select a president, secretary and executive committee members to chalk out long- and short-term plans to keep environmental threats at bay. "River parliaments would create awareness among locals on judicious use of available water resources and also rejuvenate the groundwater table through maintenance work. Both natural and man made incidents that hamper the flow of the rivers would be reported to designated authorities by parliament mem-bers," Gurusamy added.
Source epaper. . newindianexpress. com//c/20662240

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