Real Environmental Woes Not Addressed in BJP and Congress Manifestoes: Water Activist Rajendra Singh

Ramon Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh said that Congress' proposal to setup a separate ministry for potable water won’t address water scarcity.

Bhopal: Known as the ‘waterman of India’ for his matchless conservation efforts, activist Rajendra Singh said that the real issues concerning the people were missing from election manifestoes of political parties including BJP and Congress.

Singh, who won Ramon Magsaysay award in 2001 for his pioneering work in community-based efforts in water harvesting and water management, said that both the parties have been promising water supply in polls but without any real planning.

At the release of Janta Ghoshna Patra in Bhopal, Singh flayed the river linking scheme for revival of rivers. He said that the BJP is talking about offering tapped water supply by 2024 in election manifestoes but it seems impractical. “We all know that there are over 350 districts in the country which are drought-affected so the promise of water supply without planning seems impractical,” he added.

He also claimed the election manifesto of the BJP lacks any vision document and only exhibited commitment towards cleaning the Ganga and ensuring its unhindered flow.

The waterman slammed Congress’ election manifesto by saying the grand old party is talking about cleaning of Ganga and availability of potable water but lacks any extensive planning. Though the Congress is planning a separate ministry for potable water, Singh claimed that such a step won’t address water woes, which requires water literacy on mission mode in the country.

Outlining the water scarcity, Singh claimed 90% rivers have dried up and rest of them are flowing with minimal flow in the country at present. For keeping the rivers alive, the plunge in ground water table should be prevented.

“The political parties are only trying to woo public through their half-hearted commitment to environment for votes,” he added saying this is the reason that the Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan is releasing Janta Manifesto in various states and has already released it in states like Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

“Earlier the politicians used to loot booths but now they are looting votes through enticing manifestoes and catchy media campaigns,” claimed the senior activist while referring to the Ganga cleaning campaign promised by the BJP in the last election.

Singh called for a law to make political parties fulfil their promises in original form.

Slamming lack of concern in political parties for environment, Singh claimed that untimely rains would keep coming, soil would continue to erode while the government coffers would continue to formulate plans on the pretext of relief funds and climate management.

“Packed with lies and pretention, the parties would continue to garner votes. One who would lie the most with expertise would earn the maximum votes,” said the senior environment conservationist saying the real issues are nowhere to be seen in election manifestoes during lok Sabha polls.​