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‘Political’ Narmada Seva Yatra wasted public money, polluted Narmada more: social audit

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Special Correspondent

BHOPAL: The MP government’s extravaganza Narmada Seva Yatra was more of a political mileage drawer than a conservation effort and saw huge wastage of public money and left the river more polluted.

A social audit report on the Narmada Yatra, released by Vichar Madhya Pradesh – a joint forum of activists – said that common people felt that the mega event caused great losses to state exchequer and things like involvement of bollywood stars were basically unnecessary.

The Vichar Manch got the social audit done between May 19 and June 2, just after the conclusion of the six month yatra on May 15, to find out what were the ground realities following the much-touted event that was publicized as conservation initiative for River Narmada, the lifeline of MP.

The audit team however found that at most places the river had become more polluted and the banks dirtier following the yatra.

People continued to defecate in the open and flow garbage and non-degradable material related to religious rituals in the river.

Polythene use also continued rampantly and the saplings planted during the yatra had already started to dry up.

The social audit team included former MLAs Girijashankar Sharma and Paras Sakhlecha, Dr Sanjiv Chandorkar, Mahant Preetam Puri and other.

The members visited the places where events related to the yatra had taken place and met local people, social activists and experts.

They also studied documents like government press releases, the chief minister’s speech scripts as well as the government reports on the yatra.

Members Akshay Hunka, Azad Singh Dabas and Vijay Vatey also addressed the press conference.