Rally for Rivers is an India-wide campaign of Isha Foundation to save rivers in the country was flagged off in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) on Sunday, September 3 by leading sports persons among others. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, founder would himself ride about 7,000 km from Kanyakumari to Delhi, covering 16 states to create awareness on the issue, the foundation has said. It will culminate in Delhi on October 2.
Along the way, there will be 23 major events and series of awareness campaigns.
A car racer, two cricketers and several politicians joined hands with spiritual guru Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev batting for rejuvenation of rivers in the country on Sunday.
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 tagged ‘Rally for Rivers’, from VOC Park in Coimbatore, where river Noyyal is dying a slow death. The campaign aims to bring a policy change at the national level to save the rivers.
Harsh Vardhan flew down to Coimbatore after attending the swearing in ceremony of new ministers said the rally was a historic event not just for the city of Coimbatore but for the country. He said it was sad that a rally has to be organized in India, blessed with so many rivers.
“This is our moral responsibility. It is our duty to see that we protect the rights of the future generation of children,” he said adding that the central government would welcome Sadhguru when the rally culminates in New Delhi on October 2 after covering 16 states and 7,000km.
Virender Sehwag recalled the glory of rivers of India in the past. “Four decades ago, the rivers in my native village were flowing in full capacity and they were a sight to watch. I want to see that again and that is the reason I support this cause,” said Sehwag.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev said that the phenomenon of simultaneous droughts and floods in the country was born out of the society’s apathy. “Our ancestors handed us the rivers, forests, canals and other natural resources. But the present generation has taken such a huge bite from it that there will be nothing left for future generations in the coming decades,” said Sadhguru.
He added that instead of just taking up a social activity, he wanted to bring in a long-term policy change. “This 30-day journey is to create awareness about our rivers and ensure that all citizens take part in this change. It is historic that political parties of various states in spite of differences in their ideologies and state affairs are coming together for this cause. It is time that we say no to freebies and seek better developmental projects from the government and support them when they are implemented,” he said.
“It is very important to spread this message of protecting rivers across,” said Mithali Raj, captain of women’s cricket team.
The flagging off ceremony saw hundreds of people from various walks of life, young and old, gathering at VOC Park grounds. Jaggi Vasudev also exchanged a memorandum with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University vice-chancellor K Ramasamy who has agreed to provide technical support for the campaign.
The governor of Punjab, V P Singh Badnore was also present.
An expert committee of environmental scientists and lawmakers are in the process of drawing up a draft policy recommendation, which suggests that a simple yet effective means to replenish rivers is to create a kilometre-wide tree cover on riversides and half a kilometre for tributaries.

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