Organic farming, afforestation efforts improve Ganga health in Uttarakhand

May 22, 2022

Uttarakhand, May 22, 2022, (ANI): Traversing thousands of miles through distinctive terrains and geographies, River Ganga is not just a sacred but a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course. Thus ensuring its sanctity and untainted fluidity becomes an unstated responsibility of all citizens. And in order to achieve this objective, the government has been tirelessly endeavouring for the River’s conservation…free it of all contamination and its rejuvenation with its tributaries. In what could be termed as an integrated effort to accomplish its mission, the National Mission for Clean Ganga or NMCG has roped in nearly all stakeholders under its flagship programme ‘Namami Gange’ To protect Ganga from toxic insecticides and pesticides, the government appealed to farmers of Uttarakhand to adopt an alternate farming method, and today, just in a few years, the dominant form of farming in the region is Organic farming. These farmers in Chamoli district of the state are being trained to produce bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides independently. A number of such small yet significant initiatives like this have provided two-fold dividends to the farmers.The cost of production has come down to almost nil, the health of the soil has improved, the crop yields are satisfactory, and the prices that farmers get for organic crops are higher. And now not only are the farmers creating and consuming organic produce but they have also been incentivised under the ‘Organic Haat’ initiative where the farmers can sell it without any hindrance. It has significantly reduced farmers’ time and efforts they would invest in selling their crops. Another important component of Ganga rejuvenation is ‘forestry interventions’ to enhance the productivity and diversity of the forests in head water areas and all along the river and its tributaries. A massive afforestation drive to preserve flora and the fauna—by and large protecting the Ganga basin ecosystem -- has been taken up along the banks of its Ganga stream. Apart from this the soil conservation and water harvesting projects too have revived the biodiversity of the region. Increasing space of Biodiversity Parks at Ganga Riverfront has also proved instrumental in preserving the health and ecosystem of River Ganga. The quality of the water of River Ganga was already satisfactory in the Uttarakhand region but combination of these efforts has further improved it. People say the current stream of Ganga is the purest they have seen in their lives. The government on the other side says the job is not done as yet as it has to restore the original nature of the pious river, which can completely live up to the expectations of Uttarakhand’s alternate identity ‘Dev Bhoomi’.