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Bhopal failing its river, impacting Narmada’s ecology and river system

Narmada River system: Four crucial rivers in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh - Kaliyasot, Betwa, Uljhawan-Kolans, and Barna

By Ground report
New Update
Bhopal failing its river, impacting Narmada’s ecology and river system

Four crucial rivers in Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh - Kaliyasot, Betwa, Uljhawan-Kolans, and Barna - are facing severe threat due to overexploitation and neglect. The region’s ecology and the larger Narmada River system depend vitally on these rivers which are now drying up, except for brief respites during monsoon seasons.

According to the report of Free Press Journal, People have over-exploited the rivers by digging wells and boring into their catchment areas. Moreover, unchecked encroachment into catchment areas, green belts, and river beds further worsens the situation. The further degradation and contamination of these river ecosystems occur as a result of untreated sewage and various forms of waste being released into them.

The MP Pollution Control Board has outlined a plan to revive these rivers in the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The plan includes utilizing sewage effectively, recharging groundwater through rainwater harvesting, regulating groundwater use, protecting floodplain zones, maintaining minimum river flows, managing watersheds, planting trees along riverbanks, and establishing biodiversity parks.

The Kaliyasote reservoir, near Chuna Bhatti Village, serves as a storage facility. The Kaliasot Dam, built for irrigation purposes, supports agricultural lands spanning 10,425 hectares in Bhopal and Raisen districts.

Dr. SC Pandey, a green activist, emphasizes the urgency of the situation, stating that the rivers are on the verge of extinction due to a lack of interest in their rejuvenation.

"Overusing rivers has caused their extinction. Authorities must act to save these urban and semi-urban rivers for the benefit of Bhopal and other cities. To revive these rivers, we need a 250-meter catchment in rural areas, a 50-meter green belt in urban zones, and a 33-meter riverbed buffer. Installing stop dams regularly is crucial for river rejuvenation, along with periodic water releases to sustain these water bodies."

Rashid Noor, Environmentalist

Brijesh Sharma, a regional officer at the MP Pollution Control Board, highlights the non-perennial nature of these rivers, which leads to them running dry post-monsoon. He advocates for the construction of stop dams as a solution to maintain a regular flow of water, which would not only aid in river rejuvenation but also support irrigation needs.

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