Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Thursday flagged off the rafting expedition called 'Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan' or `Ganga Calling Campaign', which has been orgsed by the National Mission for Clean Ganga.
The month-long river rafting expedition between Devprayag in Uttarakhand and Ganga Sagar in West Bengal is to create awareness on water conservation.
On the occasion, the minister distributed awards to students of various schools for their contribution towards spreading awareness about cleanliness at the Ganga ghats. The minister also accomped the rafting team from Devprayag to Rishikesh.
At the occasion, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, "With this expedition, the participants will spend 34 days to raft across the entire river and interact with the masses, especially the youth, to make them aware about the need to maintain "Aviral Dhara" (Continuous Flow) and "Nirmal Dhara" (Unpolluted flow) of water in the river."
"A delegation of zoological scientists is also accompanying the rafters to do research on bio-diversity of the river, which is recognized as a living entity", he added.
The Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan will cover the five Ganga basin states- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. It will have stops at five spots including Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Patna, Sonepur and Kolkata.
This will mark the first-ever effort by the National Mission for Clean Ganga to raft across the entire River.
It will also be the longest-ever social campaign implemented in form of an adventure sport to spread the key message of river rejuvenation and water conservation on a massive scale.
The Director-General of National Mission for Clean Ganga, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra laid emphasis on youth participation in all five Ganga basin states for Ganga rejuvenation.
Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General of National Mission for Clean Ganga said, "Recently, some students of IIT Roorkee, who are members of Himalayan Explorer Club, went till Gomukh. They went there and collected some 40 bags of plastic and other garbage thrown there by the tourists. It was used for processing. If students are joining the campaign, there will be more awareness in the society."
The National Mission for Clean Ganga aims to ensure effective abatement of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral coordination for comprehensive planning and management.
It also ensures to maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.
( With inputs from ANI )