Rivers are the flowing sources of fresh water consumable to us humans and the animals. Oceans are must vaster but are inedible in nature. Unlike Rivers whose water is consumable, and is used for irrigation in agriculture, drinking water, electricity generation and also as a means of transportation. The Indian nation is full of such ever flowing rivers and they are in dire need of help from the law.
This need for a Law cannot be simply fulfilled by the already existing Prevention of Water Pollution Acts, and the Wildlife Protection Act etc. They only limit themselves to the rivers from getting polluted or the rivers which come under the boundaries of biosphere reserves.
State Governments have with them some dedicated laws which protect them from dumping and polluting means. They are safeguarded by water boards and committees. The Indian Penal Code also has few sections under it which consider polluting or disrupting a water body especially reservoirs used for agricultural purposes.
Individual laws here and there to address the categorical effects they have on rivers is not enough for the overly stressed resources of the nation. A comprehensive law must come up engaging all the departments related to resources to livelihood revolving around Water bodies of the nation.
Famous and renowned Hydrologists warn of serious consequences of linking rivers to each other and to the oceans and focussing excessively on developmental activities like construction rather than on preservation and protection. This shift of focus can be due to a lack of knowledge or sheer negligence.
Jagdish Krishnaswamy, an Ecologist and a Hydrologist warns, ” Embarking on huge transformations like linking rivers which could reduce the flow of rivers into oceans and seas is as good as signing the death warrant of our estuarine and coastal ecosystems, from the Sunderbans to the mangroves of the Krishna delta or others along the west coast. We need to really rethink the value of rivers reaching the sea, economically and ecologically”.
Inland waterways, interlinking of rivers, making these rivers flow into oceans, constructions over these rivers etc are huge pollution and misuse of our resources for drinking water. Having a single strict law which encompasses these existing laws and creating Eco-sensitive zones around the present rivers is necessary.