India’s New Environment Minister Wants Focus On All Rivers, Not Just Ganga


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India gets a new environment minister, Anil Madhav Dave. Shri Dave is an environmentalist known for his work on the course of the Narmada river. As the new environment minister, his biggest challenge will be to restore people’s faith in the environment ministry, which was more pro-development under his predecessor Prakash Javadekar. The earlier ministry was known for actively passing environmental clearances in the name of doing business more efficiently. According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), compared to the previous one, more projects have been cleared under the current government since it came to power in 2014. Around 30 percent of forest lands diverted have been allocated to mining companies.

In his debut speech as environment minister, Shri Dave talked about the importance of all rivers and pointed out that politicians have always mentioned only the Ganga and Yamuna. He stated, “Development and environment go together. They are not against each other.” While inaugurating a conference on Clean & Green Transport for Delhi NCR – Alternatives and Solutions, he emphasised the need to adopt the three-fold mantra of ‘Sun, Cycle and Saving’ for a clean and green energy future.

He also said, “Solar energy is the energy of the future, and research and development (R&D) needs to be done in this sector, as it will revolutionise the energy sector,” and “Energy should not be used carelessly, as energy saved is energy produced. Individuals must lead by example in saving energy.”

The new minister pointed out that cycling is the best, greenest and healthy mode of transport for short distances.

He called for more practical solutions from people involved in R&D, stating that they must keep in mind the difference between the success achieved in laboratories and success while implementing the solutions on the road.

Let us hope that it is sustainable development, unlike the last ministry that cleared up six hydroelectric projects in the upper part of Ganga in Uttarakhand, which witnessed the disastrous floods three years back.

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