In the path of Suddhh Ganga, now Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments are making Suddhh Godavari to clean and making the religious customs and traditions alive.
One of the most revered rivers for the Hindus, the Godavari originates from the famous pilgrim center Nashik of Maharashtra and travels 1465 kilometer to meet the Bay of Bengal. On her journey the Godavari provides livelihood to millions of people in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
With a massive drainage area of 312812 sq kilometer, the Godavari keeps its tributaries Pravara, Indravati, Manjira, Bindusara, Sabari, Wainganga and Wardha flowing to help millions of farmers. The Godavari river along with her long journey ticks thousands of economic activities in tourism, pilgrim tourism, agriculture, fishery, forestry and animal husbandry sectors.
Over the years little effort has been made to understand the river’s potential which sustains livelihood of millions of forest dwellers and villagers along her banks.
There are hundreds of places along the river Godavari’s banks which are associated with the Ramayana, the Puranas and the folklores. The holy city Nashik is the venue for Kumbhmela. Lakhs of people visit Trimbakeshwar to have a darshan of the Jyotirlinga near Nashik.
Putamba, Kopargaon, Paithan, Gangakhed, Nanded and Sironcha are famous pilgrim places in Maharashtra. The river Godavari once had contributed to a flourishing civilization along with her banks. The traces of the civilization are still found on her banks. The last generation of artisans of Nimal, Tadpakal and Battapur still contribute to the rich craft heritage of Telengana. Similarly Basara, Goodem gutta, Dharmapuri, Kaleswaram, Manthani, Bhadrachalam, Mahadevpur and Godavarikhani etc have huge potential to attract large number of pilgrims if the river flows with all her glory.
Pilgrim places in Andhra Pradesh namely Antarvedi which is known for the Laxmi Narasimha Swamy temple and the Shiva temple which is believed to have been installed by Lord Ram, Rajamundry, Dhavaleswaram, Ravulapalem, Kotipalli, Tallapudi and Narsapur etc can be developed into pilgrim centers for revenue and employment generation. Everything can be done if the river carries water throughout the year.
There are many places on the river banks which are associated with the sage Gautama, Sri Chaitanya and Lord Ram. A well thought out pilgrim tourism policy can generate huge employment on a sustainable basis. Pilgrim tourism thrives on healthy perennial flow of rivers and a dry river brings death to pilgrim sector. What the pilgrims will do if the rivers do not have water?
Over damming of Godavari has seriously affected the river’s employment generation capacity in pilgrim, tourism, water transport and agriculture sector. For electricity and irrigation small dams on tributaries can be built. But big dams carry high financial risk only. No river can meet the insatiable greed of man but it can fulfill the need of people if its potential is harnessed.
If the flow of the river Godavari is active throughout the year it will charge the ground water alongside its path and activate distributaries for agriculture productivity. Over the years many big rivers and their tributaries have met untimely death due to mindless over damming.
Ground water is the main ingredient for human survival in villages. When India is a solar rich nation there is no need for big dam for hydro- electricity. Industrial output only cannot solve the problems of hunger and employment. Look at the economies of the industrialized nations. Their economies in spite of stimulus are still in coma stage. They tried to grow on wrong fundamentals and failed.
They reduced their people’s dependence on agriculture and allied activities by 88% and focused on a few economic sectors. When there are thousands of water harvesting structures built with thousands of crores of rupees there is no need for damming river for irrigation. Big dams always dry up the tributaries and reduce ground water level. India cannot be the hub of all discarded pollutant industries.
The story of Chinese rivers should not be reloaded in India. The Chinese rivers are so much polluted that some catch fire and many are not suitable for bathing also. The incident of quiet suffering of the Chinese population should not happen in India. India can develop its Research and Development and go for high end industries which will put less pressure on natural infrastructure.
The mega Polavorum project on the river Godavari will inundate nearly 275 villages and affect people in more than 500 villages in Andhra, Telengana and Orissa. Places associated with the Ramayana namely Sri Ramgiri, Rekhapalli, and the famous tourist resort Papikondalu will vanish from the map.
The Parnasala where Ravana kidnapped Seeta will also go into oblivion. Nearly three lakh koya tribe in seven mandals in and around the dam will be displaced. The Koyas are one of the oldest tribe of India who earn their living from selling honey, tamarind, Mahua, gum and hundreds of minor forest products. Their living condition can improve if they are provided with a transparent market chain free from middlemen.
They grow paddy, maize and vegetables in the forest land and hill slopes. Since the forest has rare faunas like tiger, bara sangha deer, bear and a wide range of birds, the koyas can work as guide for adventure tourism in their forest home. The tribal may be given land to start their life again but the state will lose the rich koya culture and their simplicity. The koya can teach the so called modern man how to live close to nature and respect it for human survival.
Above all economy is nothing but an extension of nature which the modern planners and economists do not understand. They push the economy into the abyss of indebtedness and cherish short sighted vision. India is a treasure trove of natural sector economy which can provide livelihood to people on sustainable basis.
When more than 60% of engineering graduates are not employable who will give jobs to koyas, gonds and bhills. They will end up in urban slums as daily wagers. This is high time to worship mother Godavari and seek her blessings for the well beings of general public. #KhabarLive