At the University of Chicago center in New Delhi ,an effort to save the Yamuna came as a pleasant invite to me .It was rightly termed ‘Revitalising the Yamuna ‘.
The show exhibited photos of the Yamuna in its various forms – as a means of habitat ,livelihood ,statistics and so on ! Ambedkar university ,Ashoka university,Young India Fellowship,Water to Cloud and Tata centre for development collaborated with UChicago Delhi for this venture .The theme was to understand the socio-economic impact and give multiple perceptions of the river .
The films were articulate . Missing were the voices of people in the audience who had no questions on where the crores of rupees were used in the last 20 years on the 3 phase Yamuna action plan ! How the 1376 km long river has shrunk to a mere 180 km ? Not able to resist the information with people, I shared how construction of hydroelectric projects ,sand mining ,stone crushing was polluting the river more than ever .
When 50 tribes migrate to the banks of Ganga deserting the pious Yamuna,
its time to sit up and think ,to question and act wisely .
While we vote for Indian elections 2019 , I shudder to think what I vote for ?
A river catches my attention ,a river so sacred, so deep ,so ancient that I hang my head in shame standing on its banks .At The Chatt ghat ,me and my team cover our noses with handkerchieves and scarves not to inhale the toxic fumes rising there .
A tv channel does a show exclusively on the state of the Yamuna and many a times I have spoken from my heart about it .Is the awareness less or nobody is taking it seriously ?
Toxic water ,industrial waste ,tribes migrating from here to the Ganga banks ,stinky air ,dying fish ,construction along the Yamuna ,the Char Dham highway spilling the hotel -building material into the river ,sand mining ,untapped stone crushers –the list is exhausting .Moreover crores spent in the last 20 years on the 3 phases of the Yamuna action Plan show minimal results !
Would like to focus on the role citizens can play in keeping it clean .Stop polluting it with your domestic waste and religious material-maybe it could make an iota of a difference .We wait with bated breath for the incoming government to sit up and take action .
Elections are round the corner and in the manifestos of the political parties we see that the challenge of air pollution and other environment issues take a back seat . Really ,it needs more attention and should be something a big as the Swach Bharat wave .
All that is sidelined while millions of children around the world strike for climate under the” Fridays for Future “campaign . Greta sure has created a turmoil around the world with children asking questions to their governments all over the world .In Delhi ,36 schools and NGO”S got together and created a rally to create awareness for the same .
NGO Tree for life also participated with a sign board ,asking students to pledge to care for the environment ! A success through and through with dances ,aerobics ,gymnastics ,painting and songs .
Harper Collins organized a thought provoking event keeping in view the election wave of 2019 .It was called “The Debate -Read before you vote -A view on the Indian Elections “.
At the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art on the 26th April ,New Delhi stalwarts of various fields like Navin Chawla,A.S Dulat,John Elliott,Kallol Bhattacherjee ,Prateek Sinha,Kaveree Bamzai,Gen JJSingh ,Ananya Borgohain and Deepa Agarwal formed the panel .The debate was moderated skillfully by Sunetra Choudhury.
Issues like corruption ,Pulwama attack ,the Gatbandhan and fake media were highlighted .Environmnet Activist Kavita Ashok spoke about the issue of environment challenges like air pollution ,stubble burning ,public health being affected by poor air and water quality as well as infrastructure loopholes in the country .
It was an evening of intellectuals expressing concern over the upcoming Indian elections .
An one on one with politicians and a few presentations by environmentalists, research scholars and activists in the field made the Town Hall at IIT an interesting afternoon .Haiyya ,an organization of youth along with Urja created this quenching of citizen’s thirst in respect to what is happening this election 2019 about environmental issues ?Who is answerable .Members from three political parties the BJP,Congress and AAP answered a volley of questions of the audience .It was a fiery interaction .
Questions were put across concerning thermal plant’s
toxic pollution effecting Okhla area ,air pollution levels in Delhi ,stubble burning and construction chaos .The odd even was also highlighted by the AAP member .
Environment activist Kavita Ashok’s said that we must vote only for the party which promises to show us what agenda they have for fighting air pollution and the concerning challenges . We need to check their work record in the past years to see if they genuinely show promise .Environment has been sidelined for long now ,she added ! She urged the citizens to work hand in hand with the government and step out and vote wisely .
Youth is an integral part of any economy’s growth ,sustainability and a huge vote bank too .With the elections round the corner various political parties and their gurus are trying to woo this massive vote bank in their favor .
But the yuva of today is educated and aware -he uses social media ,follows the news and is politically savvy ! An interesting program organized by the National Youth Parliament and First Time voter .org was a debate of sorts -with questions from the audience and rounding up the experts of many fields .It was held at the Constitution Club Of India .Topics burning for an answer like -Are democratic institutions free ?Women in parliament ,Forget Climate change we want growth !Free media cannot control fake news !set the momentum of the youth energy .
Students ,budding journalists and experienced adults all expressed with freedom of speech -like a democracy should be ! Kavita Ashok rounded up two debates -on eon fakir’s media and the other on climate change . Answering a young debaters query she mentioned dhow a single person can make a difference ! She shared how her PIL for noise pollution in Kedarnath filed with the NGT got a sanction of 250 crores from the centre government to the Uttarakhand gov an da ropeway has been sanctioned to the shrine .Th ehelicopters making noise in the wild life sanctuary are being monitored for height of flight and noise created . She encouraged the youth to be the change they want to see . The other experts encouraged the young voters to step out and cast their vote in the coming elections .
A fest held at Ramanujam college ,Delhi to mark the International Women’s day was an amalgamation of music, comedy ,qawwali ,lectures ,plantation and eats !
NGO Tree for Life presented tree saplings to the college students to plant them on the campus . T-shirts were given to the volunteers of the women development and gender awareness cells of the college .Some students of SRCC college turned up to support Kavita Ashok in her endeavor of women security ,education ,health and awareness on this day .
Big sign boards were put up by my NGO Tree for Life where thousands signed in to show support for the cause .The Principal Dr S P Aggarwal and Focus News Chief Editor Shri Chandrashekhar ji also inspired students to respect and value women in the society .
It was a full day ,closing it with a qawwali and presenting a plant and t-shirt to standup comic Manish Tyagi .I got to exchange my ground work experience in the field with the youth through a short speech and a day full of selfies with the young turks !