Pune River Revival Launches “Rights of Rivers – My Responsibility” Campaign for Bhima Basin Water Bodies

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Pune, 8th January 2024: In response to what appears to be a failure of authorities to address the urgent need to revive dying rivers, the Pune River Revival (PRR) is gearing up to launch the “Rights of Rivers – My Responsibility” campaign. The initiative will focus on water bodies in the Bhima basin, including Mula, Mutha, Ramnadi, Pawana, Indrayani, Bhama, and Bhima. The three-day campaign is set to commence on Republic Day, January 26th.

Santosh Lalwani, a member of the PRR forum, emphasized the significance of Republic Day in celebrating the constitution, which recognizes that a clean and safe natural environment is integral to the right to life of citizens. Lalwani stated, “January 26 is our Republic Day to celebrate the constitution, which acknowledges that a clean and safe natural environment is a part of the right to life of the citizens and its maintenance is also their responsibility.”

The primary goal of the campaign is to advocate for clean and natural rivers, free from sewage and pollutants. Planned activities during the three-day event include celebrating the completion of 700 days of relay fasting by citizens, river cleaning, selfies, vlogs, street plays, and various art displays. Participants have the opportunity to win exciting prizes by taking part in the “selfies with the river” contest, where those garnering 300 likes on social media for their selfies stand a chance to win.

Lalwani urged citizens to overcome the ‘Chalta hai’ mindset and recognize that clean rivers are their fundamental and constitutional right. Prajakta Mahajan, another member, highlighted the Supreme Court’s recognition of rivers as living entities that should be respected and emphasized the rivers’ right to run freely and breathe naturally without pollution.

Mahajan emphasized that the campaign extends beyond Mula Mutha, reaching locations along Ramnadi, Pawana, Indrayani, and all rivers in the Bhima basin. The PRR is expecting participation from thousands of citizens and is collaborating with forums, groups, and localities across the city. The campaign includes 24-hour and partial fasting, river walks, street plays, and art activities.

Participants are encouraged to take selfies at the river banks with the tagline “My River – My Responsibility” or “Rights of Rivers – My Responsibility” and share them on social media. Mahajan revealed ongoing efforts to involve colleges in the campaign, with clean-up drives and river walks organized every weekend with Jeevit Nadi Forum and river clubs of MIT and Fergusson College. PRR plans to send a proposal and petition to the vice-chancellor and environment department of SPPU to engage colleges in Pune, Ahmednagar, and Nasik in the campaign.

PRR, comprising over 60 organizations and numerous like-minded citizens, is dedicated to the ecological rejuvenation of Pune’s rivers, with a core focus on natural, free-flowing, uncontaminated rivers. The chain-fasting movement to save Mula Mutha River has been ongoing for nearly two years, with over 200 citizens fasting for 1,000 times in the last 678 days.

Activities Planned:
– Celebrating 700 days of chain fasting and 24 hours mass fasting at specific locations
– Partial fasting (skip-a-meal) by individuals and groups to support the chain fasting movement
– Competitions, processions, and talks on clean, natural free-flowing rivers at societies and college campuses
– Riverside activities: Cleanup, selfies, vlogs, street plays, and other types of displays