Home / News / India /  Environment ministry releases project reports for rejuvenation of 13 rivers in India

NEW DELHI : Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) on rejuvenation of thirteen major rivers through forestry interventions on Monday. 

Union minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, and Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajender Singh Shekhawat, along with Minister of State, MoEFCC, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, jointly released the reports. 

The thirteen rivers for which the DPRs are released are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Luni, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Cauvery. The DPRs were funded by National Afforestation & Eco-development Board, (MoEF&CC) and prepared by Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE), Dehradun. 

Addressing the gathering, the Union Environment Minister said that the DPRs are in line with the holistic vision of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi of making the coming 25 years as ‘Amrit Kaal’ as these DPRs will create a target of green cover expansion for upcoming 10 years and 20 years, then the future generations will get a ‘Green India’ through the ‘Van Bhagidari and Jan Bhagidari’ of the current generation. 

The proposed cumulative budget outlay of thirteen DPRs is Rs. 19,342.62 crore. The DPRs are expected to be executed through the State Forest Departments as nodal department and with convergence of schemes of other line departments in the states towards the activities proposed in the DPRs and funding support from the Government of India. 

Addressing the gathering, the Union Minister, Jal Shakti said that ‘water is the elixir of life’ and this fact was known to all traditionally as rivers were treated as goddesses and were cared for with deep reverence in the hearts, minds and souls of the masses. The day we stopped thinking about what we give back to the rivers, when we did not balance the need for development with environmental sustainability, when we stopped becoming custodians of nature and rather forced our ownership on it, we have started exploiting and over exploiting our resources. 

The activities proposed in the DPRs will help achieve potential benefits of increasing the green cover, contain soil erosion, recharge water table and sequester carbon dioxide in addition to benefits in the form of non-timber forest produce.  

Forestry interventions are expected to increase the cumulative forest cover by 7,417.36 km2 across 13 riverscapes. The proposed interventions would help to sequester 50.21 million tons CO2 equivalent in 10-year-old plantations and 74.76 million tons CO2 equivalent in 20-year-old plantations. The proposed interventions in thirteen riverscapes would help in ground water recharge to the extent of 1,889.89 million cubic meter per year, and reduction in sedimentation to the tune of 64,83,114 cubic meter per year.  

In addition, Rs. 449.01 crore is likely to be generated from expected non-timber and other forest produce. It is also expected that the employment of 344 million man-days shall be generated through planned activities as provisioned in 13 DPRs. 

The rivers along with their tributaries are proposed for forestry interventions in the riverscape under different landscapes namely natural landscape, agricultural landscape and urban landscape. The different models of forestry plantations including timber species, medicinal plants, grasses, shrubs and fuel fodder and fruit trees are aimed to augment water, ground water recharge and contain erosion. A total of 667 treatment and plantation models are proposed in all the 13 DPRs meant for the proposed forestry interventions and supporting activities, in different landscapes. 

Each DPR incorporates detailed geospatial analysis of the delineated Riverscape, exhaustive review on the river environment, factors responsible for the current state and prioritization of areas using Remote sensing and GIS techniques along with field verification for proposed forestry interventions and other conservation measures through an extensive consultative process and designing and development of various treatment models for Natural, Agriculture & Urban landscape in each of the delineated riverscape. 

The DPRs focus on protection, afforestation, catchment treatment, ecological restoration, moisture conservation, livelihood improvement, income generation, ecotourism by developing river fronts, eco-parks and bringing awareness amongst the masses. Research and monitoring have also been included as a component. 

The efforts will help in achieving the international commitments of India such as NDC forestry sector goal of creation of additional carbon sink of 2.5 -3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030 under the Paris Agreement of UNFCCC, restoration of 26 million hectare of degraded lands by 2030 as a land degradation neutrality target under UNCCD, halt the biodiversity loss by 2030 under CBD and Sustainable Development Goals.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Swati Luthra

Swati Luthra writes on climate change, water, environment and forest issues for Mint. A graduate in Psychology, Swati has been mapping India’s policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at CoP-26 including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
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