Terming Yamuna a “dead river”, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Friday said the “enormity of the water crisis” was not being recognized in India, and that 10 large cities would completely go dry by 2030.
“Unfortunately, NITI Aayog has to point out that 600 million people live in water-stressed areas and by 2030, our demand for water may double,” Kumar said at Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Memorial youth conclave on’Creating Livable Planet Earth’.
The government’s think tank last month came out with a report on the country’s water crisis.
It was a “supreme irony” that the country was facing the crisis despite receiving plentiful rains, he remarked.
“Some 30 years ago, water was transported to Gujarat by trains as 700-ft deep wells in that state were filled with arsenic. These situations can be reversed, but the work has to start now…no more delays,” he said.
“Yamuna is a dead river and the enormity of the water crisis is not being recognised in this country… soon 10 larger cities in India are going to face dead-stop period by the year 2030. Soon water in this country will not only be priced but become unavailable one day,” he said.
In order to curtail sewage getting dumped in the Yamuna, Kumar said the NITI Aayog had come up with a bio-digester toilet system which was first discovered in Antarctica.
If the new initiative is implemented, the country would not require any more sewage transport systems, he added.
“I have been trying to push this into the system for the last seven months…but I am being pushed back all the way,” he said.
Remembering Abdul Kalam, who said that every citizen of the country should have a ‘right to water’, he said “mere rights will not make that happen…entitlements have to come with responsibility”.