Celebrating our Rivers
The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti organized last fortnight (November 4) “Ganga Utsav – The River Festival 2022” at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi in two sessions.
The Union Minister for Culture, Tourism & DoNER, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, was the Chief Guest in the morning session in the gracious presence of the Minister for State, Jal Shakti and Tribal Affairs Shri Bishweswar Tudu. Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, presided over the evening session in the presence of Shri Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti and Shri Govind Mohan, Secretary, Ministry of Culture.
NMCG has said that it will be taking Ganga Utsav- The River Festival 2022 to newer heights through active and inspirational participation of multiple stakeholders in the days to come. One of the main objectives of Ganga Utsav 2022 is to celebrate our rivers and spread awareness on the significance of river rejuvenation across river basins in India.
The Ganga Utsav 2022- The River Festival is being developed as a model for River Festivals with the aim to connect people to the rivers and inculcate its importance. This is being done by bringing together celebrities, dignitaries and influencers from different walks of life on one platform, and celebrating rivers by bringing awareness to keep it clean and healthy.
Dedicating the grand event to the 75 years of Indian Independence (Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav), the aim is to hold similar events at more than 75 locations in states to celebrate the rivers of India. Various activities of Ganga Utsav will take place at central, state, and district levels on both physical and virtual platforms :
– Various activities of Ganga Utsav take place at central, state, and district levels
– Arth Ganga is a focus area as it aims to establish people-river connect
– District Ganga Committees mobilized to ensure ardent participation in Ganga Utsav
– The Ganga Utsav is being developed as a model for River Festivals that are an exciting blend of art, culture, music, knowledge, poetry, dialogue, and stories.
Ganga Utsav 2022 has “Arth Ganga” as its focus area as it aims to establish people-river connect through the “bridge of economics”. The idea is to create an excellent platform to communicate the importance of rivers vis-a-vis the employment generational initiatives. The Arth Ganga model includes Natural Farming, Ghat Pe Haat, Jalaj, Training of Ganga Sewaks, Ganga Artis etc.
The six important verticals of Arth Ganga are Zero Budget Natural Farming, Monetization and Reuse of Sludge & Wastewater, Livelihood Generation, Public Participation, Cultural Heritage & Tourism and Institutional Building.
NMCG has already organised several workshops to nudge the farmers to shift to Natural Farming along the Ganga Basin. Hundreds of farmers participated in workshops/training in Shirdi, Bulandshahr, Sonipat and Haridwar.
Incidentally, NMCG has been celebrating Ganga Utsav since 2017 every year on 4th November, the day on which river Ganga was declared the National River of India in the year 2008.
Background of the Ganga Utsav
Initially, the festival started off as ‘Ek Shaam Ganga Ke Naam’, a small event involving limited stakeholders in 2017. With the help of international association such as Indo-German collaboration, the event subsequently developed into ‘Bal Ganga Mela’ in 2018. The Bal Ganga Mela 2018 was organized in association with HCL Foundation. In 2019, the event progressed as a carnival wherein it witnessed enthusiastic participation of thousands of people with a focused approach towards roping in school students and youth.
The third edition of Ganga Utsav 2020 was a three-day virtual event and steadily took shape as the River Festival. The event was an interesting amalgamation of technology and cultural events. In spite of Covid restrictions, the Utsav was a huge success with over 3 lakh registrations and participants from across the country, joined through video conferencing and other social media platforms. The reach of three-day Ganga Utsav was in millions nationally and saw a global audience witnessing the various activities unfold over live. It also brought together a number of partners, stakeholders, communities, and volunteers, who helped in carrying out activities at the ground level and connected people to Ganga and its ecology.
Ganga Utsav 2021 – the River Festival was celebrated as a festival part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. While the main event was held in New Delhi for three days, several events and activities also took place at the district and village level beyond 3rd November, 2021. The events celebrated the rivers on a continuous basis and carried out massive public outreach activities. Another unique feature of Ganga Utsav 2021 was the collaborative partnership between various governmental and non-governmental entities. This included community support as well as volunteers who connected people with Ganga and pledged to keep the rivers clean and healthy.