The 1015-km stretch of the Ganga from Bijnor in west UP to Ballia in the eastern part of the state will be abuzz with activity for five days from January 27 to 31 when governor Anandiben Patel and chief minister Yogi Adityanath set out on a journey to raise public awareness for restoring the Gangas purity.
To motivate people to join the mission for purity of Ganga, the state government plans to invoke the spirituality and faith associated with the river.
A state government spokesperson said governor Anandiben Patel will inaugurate the yatra from Ballia while chief minister Yogi Adityanath will flag off the other leg of the yatra from Bijnor.
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Rawat will be present in Bijnor and Bihar deputy CM Sushil Modi will be there in Ballia, the spokesman said.
The governor, the chief minister, ministers, officers and volunteers will travel on steamers, boats as well as taking the land route during the journey, he said.
The dignitaries are expected to call upon the people to make the river clean by checking the discharge of pollutants, organising plantation campaigns on the riverbank and promoting organic farming.
Each day, the yatra will begin with Ganga puja and end with Ganga aarti at various spots in 27 districts on the route.
The Ganga is a symbol of the countrys culture and the economy of the state is also linked with the river, Adityanath has said.
The state government also plans to showcase welfare and development schemes.
While the newly formed jal shakti department has been made the nodal department for programme, the government has roped in two dozen departments to highlight schemes and associate the people in various programmes that will be organised during the yatra.
The urban and rural local bodies will organise a seminar on the environment.
The state government will prepare a documentary film of the Ganga yatra.
After the yatra, the film will be screened in villages and towns to increase public awareness.
To promote sports activities in the rural areas, the state government plans to set up Ganga maidans (fields) in gram panchayats on the yatra route.
Ganga talab (pond) will be constructed to promote water conservation.
To promote horticulture, parks and nurseries will be developed on both sides of the river. The district magistrates of the 27 districts will constitute Ganga zila committees for coordination between all the departments at the local level, said an officer familiar with the programme.
People residing in the urban and rural areas will be told about the Namami Gange programme run by the central and state governments. Village chaupals will be organised in the rural areas.
Health camps, animal health fairs, sports competitions, programmes for school children, cultural programmes will be organised in the villages during the yatra.
To boost tourism, the religious, spiritual and cultural centres located on the bank of the rivers will be highlighted during the yatra.
Ministers will address public meetings in various districts and participate in the welcome programmes organised by the district administration. The Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and The State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) will throw a security cordon around the yatra.
The volunteers of the social organizations working to make rivers pollution free will also join the yatra.
Public meetings have been organized in Rae Bareli, considered a Congress stronghold, and the Samajwadi Partys sphere of influence in Kannauj and Badaun.
Jal Shakti minister Mahendra Singh said the state government had set a target to make 1638 villages on the yatra route open defecation free.
Drains flowing into the river will be diverted, he said, adding the government had released funds for establishment of the sewage treatment plants (STPs) in various cities and towns on the riverbank.
An effort was being made to make the Ganga pollution free with restrictions on the use of polythene and plastic, he said, adding measures should be taken to stop the discharge of effluents in the river. Villagers will be urged not to dump bodies and carcasses in the river, he said
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