The Centre has selected Pune and Aurangabad to be a part of a national alliance of 30 river-basin cities amid growing concerns over ecological damage to rivers across India.
The ‘River Cities Alliance’, which will be formally launched next month, will serve as a platform for the authorities of the “river cities” to engage in conservation of waterbodies through collaborations and learning from each other’s initiative, the authorities said.
While the housing and urban affairs ministry, through its nodal organisation National Institute of Urban Affair is working with the National Mission for Clean Ganga under the Jal Shakti ministry on promulgating river-sensitive development in the cities concerned, the alliance is envisaged as a platform for the river cities to interact and share best practices for a sustainable unified vision of healthy rivers. “Experts from NMCG and NIUA will serve as resource persons for the alliance. While we have already undertaken a public campaign for the ecological restoration of the Kham river since January 2021, the participation in a national level alliance will serve as a shot in the arm for the necessary rejuvenation of rivers,” Aurangabad municipal chief Astik Kumar Pandey said.
The alliance, which will be a community of river cities in India, is expected to provide a framework and tools for planning and management of urban river stretches. As a member of the alliance, every city will have to prepare a detailed project report for rejuvenation of rivers in its jurisdiction.
Earlier, NMCG -director general Rajiv Mishra, while addressing an onboarding workshop for members of the alliance, said that there is a need for “new thinking” for the rivers. “There is a need for an urban river management plan for the cities to make the cities smart enough to recharge our the waterbodies. A river sensitive master plan must be created and implemented by the cities that must take ownership of their waterbodies, vegetation and riverfronts,” he said.