India Rivers Week 2021, an annual event organised by the India Rivers Forum (IRF), concluded on Saturday with a pledge to work towards the protection of inland fisheries, fish, and rivers for their conservation and rejuvenation.
The event saw bureaucrats, activists, academicians and community leaders participating in five riveting virtual sessions.
The programme, which began on November 8, focused on impacts of river pollution on fisheries and fish followed by subsequent sessions on fragmented rivers (dams, barrages, and embankments), the need for better science, data, and advocacy, the changing political economy of riverine fisheries and finally the national event on issues around governance.
During the event, activist Raj Kumar Sinha and Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) were awarded the Bhagirath Prayaas Samman (BPS) while the Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal, conferred upon a media professional with a creditable track record of writings on rivers, was given to author-journalist Abhay Mishra and journalist Athar Parvaiz.
Sinha has been working for the last 30 years towards the protection of the Narmada river and communities living along the river. His organisation, Bargi Bandh Visthapit Evam Prabhavit Sangh, has been campaigning against destructive projects in the upper reaches of the Narmada River and fighting for the rights of people affected by the Bargi dam.
The ACT is an organisation of the indigenous Lepchas of Sikkim, raising awareness against the cascades of hydropower projects that threaten the Teesta river and its tributaries for the last 20 years.
Winner of Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal, Abhay Mishra has reported in-depth and with verve on the state of the river Ganga for more than a decade, travelling several times from source to sea to observe and understand events and processes along its banks.
Journalist Parvaiz has reported with great insight and courage on various issues related to rivers in Jammu and Kashmir.