Rejuvenating Devika in Purmandal

It is heartening to learn that a positive response is seen coming forth in respect of a lot of concern voiced intermittently on the condition and the health of the water and the size of the sacred Devika river on more than one count. First, some initiative was taken by the State Pollution Control Board to know the extent and the causes of the continuous deterioration in the quality of the water of Devika as also encroachment of different hues coupled with enormous pollution caused to it because even that exercise was not taken earlier which , however, would have paved the way for some remedial action. Now, the Jammu and Kashmir State Water Resources Regulatory Authority (SWRRA) too has been motivated to conduct on the spot of assessment of the entire situation engulfing this river held otherwise held in reverential esteem by the people. Convinced about the gravity, the problem having assumed, SWRRA has issued directions about the corrective measures which could salvage the situation provided the same were attended to, on priority.
It is not that the condition of the river has reached its current position all of a sudden but has been happening in gradual but effective way and if corrective measures would simultaneously have been taken and seen implemented including by framing laws to ensure enforceability , perhaps much damage could have been averted and things would have not reached to this extent. Not only the main river, there are nearly 108 Bowlies too known to have been brimming with fresh water in this area most of whom have virtually become nonexistent again because of sheer neglect by the people and the apathetic attitude of the Surinsar – Mansar Development Authority. Pollution is not only causing damage to Devika river stealthily but it is happening openly quite visible to the naked eyes who perhaps keep on contributing to its more deteriorating condition.
Those who visit it for cremation and other rites must introspect. Those living in immediate surroundings who should otherwise have been its guards, have been conveniently looking to the other side. That is a stark fact and we must own it to do something concrete but without wasting further time . Perhaps, convinced on these lines, SWRRA team has visited the troubled river and even walked in this river about half a kilometre both downstream as well as upstream.
The team of SWRRA could have not felt more disturbed when starting from the main point – the Devsthan to know the extent of heaps of garbage in the river which has polluted it , shrunk it and made its waters emit irritating smell as if denouncing and exposing its violation caused by people all in the garb of performing rites and rituals which interestingly, enjoin upon them to respect to the extent of worshipping natural gifts like rivers, lakes, springs and other water bodies. The team also found half burnt and burnt logs, littering all around and shockingly sewer from the nearby houses diverted to ‘melt’ in this river . The argument as to why is not a sewage treatment plant established there to address the problem of sewer is as fallacious as it is an attempt to camouflage the criminal act of assaulting and defiling this river indulged in by those from whose houses is this dangerous pollutant flowing into this river.
‘Excelsior’ has many a time, voiced concern on the pathetic condition of this river of fame and opined, besides other measures , about the need of strict adherence to abstaining from performing cremation of the departed ones as and where liked instead of using the identified three spots in Purmandal area. This attitude of most of those visiting the place has wrought havoc with the waters of this river and has blurred the look of the temple as well. Let the findings of the concerned agencies including SWRRA result in corrective steps on long term basis taken by the government to save Devika.