Odisha Jatha to be held from 13th to 15th September from Belpahad to Paradeep.
· Chhattisgarh Jatha to be organised from Sihawa to Hirakud in November first week.
· A public convention to be held at Sambalpur in November first week.
· The Jathas will connect people to the peace building initiative.
· Mahanadi’s health and identify problems will be discussed
· People’s aspirations and ecological issues to be brought to forefront of dialogue between two states
Sambalpur: The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ that was initiated by Mahanadi River Waterkeeper, Odisha and Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh had in its Campaign Coordination cum Strategy meeting held at Sambalpur on 5th August, had decided that a “Mahanadi Peace Jatha” will be organised to connect people of both the states to the Mother River.
Today, a discussion was held at Sambalpur and it was decided to hold two Jathas, a coordination meeting and a public convention in both the states, informed Ranjan Panda and Gautam Bandyopadhyay, joint convenors of the Mahanadi Peace Initiative.
“The Mahanadi Inter-State River Water Dispute needs amicable settlement and real priorities of the people of the basin needs to take the centre state of the debate. These Jathas will meet people in important locations of the River and garner their support for a peace process,” said the organisers.
“The Odisha Jatha will take the following ruote: Belpahad – Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Dhama – Sonepur – Boudh – Kantilo – Banki – Cuttack – Paradeep,” informed the organisers. A team of people – both from Odisha and Chhattisgarh – will participate in this and public meetings will be organised in the above places plus other places on way. The Odisha part of the Jatha will be organised with active collaboration of Water Initiatives Odisha, Odisha Swabhiman Mancha, and about 20 social organisations who have already endorsed the Mahanadi Peace Initiative. Further details will be shared nearer to the Jatha.
The Chhattisgarh Jatha will be held in the first week of November from Sihawa to Hirakud and culminate in a public convention at Sambalpur where people’s aspirations gathered during the Jatha will be shared and memorandum to Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Central Governments will be sent.
The Jathas will have the following basic objectives:
To connect people of the basin to the real challenges such as water reduction due to dams and barrages, growing conflicts, diversion of water from irrigation to industries, climate change impacts on the basin, loss of livelihoods of farmers and fisherfolks, etc.
To build awareness on decreasing Health of the River Basin due to pollutin from industrial, urban and other activities.
To garner people’s support to the “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” and, with their support, urge both the state governments to enter into a peace building dialogue without any further delay.
To urge upon both the governments to prepare a joint River Basin Management Plan and work towards recharging the river basin through proper ecological planning and enable people’s rights over the River.
To urge upon both the governmnets to prioritise drought proofing the basin, providing clean drinking water to the entire basin population, water security to farmers through complete irrigation coverage, provide sanitation facilities with water security to the entire basin population, revive and restore surface water bodies as well as ground water sources.
“The “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” recognises that Mahanadi Civilization is more important than state geographical boundaries and both the states’ well being and prosperity is dependent on a ‘Living and Healthy Mahanadi.’ It is thefore important for the people to connect with each other and ask their governments to plan development of the basin in a coherant and coordinated approach which is only possible through a peaceful dialogue process.”
“The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ has already organised several village and city level meetings in both Odisha and Chhattisgarh and has got endorsement of more than 300 individuals and organisations from both the states and outside including some international organisations. For the upcoming Jathas and public conventions we have formed a 20 member Coordination Committee that includes leading social activists, environmentalists, farmer leaders, experts, academicians and youth leaders from both the states.
This is a unique neutral and non-political initiative and we seek cooperation of all citizens of the Mahanadi Basin and all people across the world who want to see Mahanadi a ‘Living and Healthy’ River.
The Jathas and other progarmmes of the “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” are being organised with voluntary contribution of common people. We request all the concerned people to join hands in the endeavours and support us in whichever means they can.