The lockdown may have spelt misery for many, but for 19 rivers in UP it has come as a boon. Migrant labourers, to be given work under the MGNREGA, would be deployed for revival of these rivers, UP Minister for Rural Development Rajendra Pratap Singh told IANS.
"MGNREGA workers will be used to remove silt and clean check-dams to give rivers a new lease of life," he said
The rivers to be rejuvenated are Sai, Pandu, Mandakini, Tedhi, Manorama, Varuna, Sasur Khaderi, Arel, Morao, Tamsa, Naad, Karnavati, Baan, Sone, Kali, Dadhi, Ishan, Budhi Ganga and Gomti.
"Most of these are small rivers. For example, Arel flows in the Rohilkhand region. The Sai river passes through Unnao, Hardoi and Lucknow. Due to negligence, some of these rivers have vanished. We will use the MGNREGA workforce to revive them," he said.
These rivers pass through 39 districts, like Bahraich, Gonda, Basti, Auraiyya, Kannauj, Kanpur, Kanpur Dehat, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Prayagraj, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Kaushambhi, Hardoi, Unnao, Rae Bareli, Lucknow, Jaunpur, Lakhimpur, Sitapur, Shahjahanpur, Pilibhit, Badaun, Bareilly, Chitrakoot, Ayodhya, Ambedkar Nagar, Mirzapur, Bijnor, Moradabad, Sambhal, Meerut, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Etah, Kasganj and Amroha.
"As the work progresses, we will see if the rivers could be linked to increase irrigation facilities and control flood-related damages," the Minister said.
The Rural Development Department will work in close coordination with the Jal Shakti Ministry. A state-level committee, headed by the Principal Secretary (Rural Development), has been set up.
"Migrant workers are available in every district and the easy availability of labour will speed up the project. We want to complete major part of work before the onset of monsoon," he said.
Days after assuming the office in March 2017, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said revival and linking of UP rivers would be given priority as it would have a positive impact on agriculture.