On May 22,2018, Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated a day-long workshop on the theme “Ganga and its Biodiversity: Developing a Road Map for Habitat and Species Conservation” on river Ganga in New Delhi. This was organized by by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
He also released a report on “Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species”. A database of ‘Ganga Praharis’, a self-motivated cadre, being created by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was also launched by the Minister.
To approach the challenges of cleaning river Ganga through an integrated approach and with synergy between development and ecology.
Salient Features of the Workshop:
- Ganga still has about 2,000 aquatic speciesand with the participation of one and all the difficult task of restoring Ganga’s biodiversity can be achieved.
- Making paper from bamboo and other such activities will not only generate employment in areas near river Ganga but will also encourage local communities, some of whom have joined the clean Ganga mission as Ganga Praharis and Ganga Mitras, to ensure conservation of river’s biodiversity.
- Increasing activities like plantation on river bank, boating, construction of Mukti Dhams and Ghats will be done. These will increase employment opportunities and will mobilise public participation of the local residents in the task of cleaning Ganga.
- The Ganga Praharis’, a self-motivated volunteer cadre from local communities have been trained and taken on board by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to make Clean Ganga Mission a mass movement.
- The first-of-its-kind reports :“Status of Conservation of Select Aquatic Species”which presents the status of select species of river Ganga and gives information from available literature and data collected and “Ganga Biodiversity-At a Glance” which gives species with details, along with their depiction and maps were released.
- The Minister also released another publication The technical session focused on “Developing a Five and 10 year strategies for Ganga aquatic biodiversity conservation”.
- During the rapid biodiversity assessment made under the project, species, such as Siebold’s smooth scaled water snake (Enhydris sieboldii), were observed after a gap of 70 years in river Ganga. The biodiversity assessment team also reported new nesting ground of Indian Skimmer (Rhynchops albicolis), a globally threatened bird, between Allahabad and Mirzapur, positive signs for the river’s biodiversity.
The Reports : “Status of conservation of selected aquatic species” & “ Ganga Biodiversity- At a glance”:
These reports have been prepared by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun as part of the “Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation” project being sponsored by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the aegis of the Namami Gange programme. The project aims to develop a science-based aquatic species restoration plan for Ganga by involving multiple stakeholders.
About the Ganga Praharis:
The Ganga Praharis’, a self-motivated volunteer cadre from local communities have been trained and taken on board by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to make Clean Ganga Mission a mass movement. This cadre has been created to ensure the sustainability of efforts in conservation of the biodiversity in river Ganga. So far, 427 Ganga Praharis across five main stem Ganga basin states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have been involved in this project.