Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

Mahatma Gandhi was also known as the ‘Saint of Sabarmati’, as he chose the banks of the river flowing next to the city (those days) to establish his ashram which became a base of the freedom struggle of the country. The river has been shrinking to death over the years and decades, but now Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev led Isha Foundation has raised new hopes to bring the rivers of the country, including Sabarmati back to atleast some of the old glory.
As a part of his “Rally for Rivers” campaign, Sadhguru visited Ahmedabad on Wednesday (20 September) to raise awareness about the need to revive Sabarmati river, the basic source of water for Ahmedabad city.
In an elaborate function at the riverfront, Sadhguru signed an MoU with the Gujarat government as a knowledge provider and consultant to improving tree cover along major Gujarat rivers.
Sadhguru said, “We have a team of experts who will study the soil, topography along the river banks and suggest what can be done and what trees can be grown on the minimum 1km buffer along the river.” Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani assured Sadhguru of the state’s support. “Only 4% of our rivers are glacier-fed, rest are all forest-fed. This means we require good forest cover along rivers to absorb monsoon waters, which then will gently allow this water to percolate into the river over years,“ said Sadhguru.
“A lot of thrust is on interlinking rivers too. But I feel that linking all rivers in the country will be a disaster. In fact there are many small and other rivers that flood during every monsoon and a large volume of water goes unutilised. Linking such rivers with a network will be highly beneficial.” Sadhguru said. He also pointed out that as a country we are not utilising the potential of our own agriculture universities.
“Sometime back we had invited a group of Vietnamese horticulture experts to help us with the tree project. They told us that farmers in Vietnam who shifted from paddy to fruit cultivation saw a 20 fold rise in their income. The Vietnamese experts later told me that they all were trained in Indian Agricultural Universities 22 years ago. I wondered had this knowledge come to our lands and our farmers it could have done wonders,” Sadhguru added.
On October 2, the spiritual leader will present a 650-page policy document to the Union government and even share it with states, media and scientific institutions. Throughout the campaign, Sadhguru has stressed the importance to improve riparian tree buffer alongside rivers and encouraging farmers to shift to growing fruit trees to not only improve their economic condition but also to improve the country’s nutritional standards.
“Only 4 % of our population consume fruits. Our very own tropical fruit varieties are literally missing because nobody grows them. Scholars like Megasthenes and Kautaliya have noted how fruits formed a large part of Indian diet,” Sadhguru said. He added, “Through this campaign, I want India to return to those times when fruits formed at least 30% of our diets.” He also outlined a fruit diet based strategy that would be able to tackle the chronic issue of malnutrition that needs to be tackled on a war footing.
He later added, “Our idea is to form a policy which allows a large number of Farmer Produce Organizations (FPOs) form a board in each state, which will be a conglomeration of farmers who pool in land. Say 1,000 farmers can pool together 10,000 acres to grow fruit trees.”
“The policy protects a farmer’s ownership of land. The farmers decide what fruits they will grow, and the industry will invest in modern drip irrigation systems, fertilizers and farm inputs and the government will encourage larger gestation period of 10 to 12 years for investors interested in this,“ Sadhguru said.

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