Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu attended a 'Rally for Rivers' event in Vijayawada as the chief guest on Wednesday. The event was organised by Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev.
The event was held at the PB Siddhartha College of Arts and Science.
The Times of India reported that several state cabinet ministers, including minister of environment and forests Sidda Raghava Rao, minister of irrigation and water resources Devineni Umamaheswara Rao and minister of agriculture Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy were present at the event.
“This is not a protest, nor is it an an agitation. This is the campaign to raise awareness that our rivers are depleting.Everyone who consumes water must rally for rivers. As citizens of India, we need to express our responsibility and change the existing condition of our rivers. For the well-being of the nation, for future generations and for our generation, let's stand up and make this happen," ToI quoted Vasudev as saying.
The movement came to Vijayawada after a visit to Nellore near the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border.
"As we move into Andhra Pradesh via Nellore, we see signs of ‘Haritha Andhra Pradesh’ or ‘green Andhra’, lush after the rains. The land is green but we don’t see too much blue. We crossed the river bed of the river Swarnamukhi, also referred to as Mogaleru. It is considered a holy river and connects five Shiva temples on its path. However, as far as water is concerned, it is the same story here as well. It was last seen to run in 2004-2005, but has since dried," a press release from the Isha Foundation said.
"The river Penna also flows through Nellore emptying into the Bay of Bengal at Utukuru. Studies say it has depleted by 52%," it added.
After Vijayawada, Vasudev will be driving to Hyderabad followed by a longer drive, to Mumbai.
The rally was flagged off on September 3 and will culminate in Delhi on October 2. Along the course of this car rally, there will be 23 major events and series of awareness campaigns.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev himself will be riding 7,000 km from Kanyakumari and covering 16 states to create awareness on the issue.
Union environment, forest and climate change minister Harsh Vardhan Singh, cricketers Virendhar Sewag, Mithali Raj and car racer Narain Karthikeyan flagged off the nationwide campaign initiated by Isha Foundation last week.
According to the campaign's dedicated website - 'India’s rivers are undergoing a drastic change. Due to the pressures of population and development, our perennial rivers are becoming seasonal. Many of the smaller rivers have already vanished. Flood as well as drought are becoming increasingly frequent, as rivers turn unruly during the monsoon, and vanish once the rainy season is over.'