• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

International River Congress- 2021, Kolkata

South Asian Institute for Advanced Research & Development (SAIARD) is a Research and Knowledge hub, which has started its journey with a broad vision and objectives to promote research,advocacy, education and innovative ideas through publication,various outreach programs collaborations and partnerships for sustainable and cognitive development of this region.

Rivers are the lifeline of all civilizations as they provide a plethora of life-giving benefits. They
have encouraged human kind to establish major human civilizations and their cities.

Mostly in many cities countries rivers are worshiped as their sacred mother for they nurture us with life giving fresh water. As we look from pre-historic times all civilizations were established and flourished near river. It had played significant role in agriculture, transport and trade and thereby in the advancement human civilization. Rivers are an element of the hydrological cycle in which water collects via precipitation and its intensity expands as it collects more water from the many tributaries that feeds its drainage system. All rivers initiate from the apex point in an area and thereby flow downstream being born of snow rainwater or underground reserves.

Rivers run through our history and folklore and link us to people and their civilizations.They nourish and refresh us and provide a home to dazzling varieties of fish, wildlife trees and myriad varieties plants. Every river has its own identity and character of its own flow all around the world.

Our minds and souls being to rejoice and rejuvenate, refreshed and purified and devoid of any fatigue.They are life giving and nourishing life in all its varied forms therefore should be caredfor with utmost reverence and affection. But what do we actually do to save the extinction of rivers or to take care of the rivers which needs rejuvenation? How many people actually feel that we should really do something to save our rivers?

An innovative initiative, the ‘1st International River Congress, 2021’ has been organized by Dr.Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, Chairman of ‘South Asian Institute for Advanced Research & Development (SAIARD)’, from 27th to 29th December 2021 in Anthropological Survey Of India, Kolkata.

Kolkata, where many national and international experts,stakeholders and investors have deliberated upon river resources planning and management, we tried to find the answer for the same. A complete three days intense program we have experienced a wide scope of restoring,protecting and rejuvenating our largest ever flowing freshwater sources. On the very first day, the program was inaugurated by Mr. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, IAS, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga.The program was witnessed welcome address by Hon’ble Guest His Lordship Hon’ble Justice B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member, National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata, Saibal Dasgupta, Expert Member, National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata, Special guest Mr. Nakamura Yutaka, Consulate General of Japan in Kolkata and Dr. Gauri Basu, Director, Anthropological Survey of India.

After a great talk on river and its management, SAIARD has signed MOU with TERI,New Delhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh and Vivekananda Mission Mahavidhyalaya, West Bengal.

On this program platform, many experts from international level, national level, state level and many institutions has shared their experiences on conserving, protecting and integrating river with the city life.Rahul Sachdeva from National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) with his team has an intense discussion of River Management Plan and Connecting the River with the City and people.In the next technical session, an expert team from many renowned Institutes in India like CEPT University, IIT Kharagpur, GIZ India had shared the ground reality of ‘Inclusive and Resilient Waterfront Development’, where Dr. Saswata Bandyopadhyay was took us through a journey of Inclusive Water Centric Urban Planning Approach in various cities in India, like Bharuch, Mangalore, Varanasi, Kochi etc. Afterwards, a group of experts from various govt.organizations talked about how technology can be used to prepare the River Basin Management Plan and Resiliency. In this program, Dr. Kalyan Rudra, Chairman of West Bengal Pollution Control Board talked about the role of the key stakeholders in case of rejuvenating the river and development of people’s livelihood.

Considering the significance for rivers and the consequences, this International River Congress has given a big bag of fresh ideas, wayfinding for the young urban planners, urban designers, geographers, environmental specialists to think in a very different way and pave the path for integrated and sustainable planning for the better future. It was a platform for those who actually care about River sensitivity and development and also want to create awareness to protect the rivers in the country. Looking at the enthusiastic and collaborative nature of the participants, advisory board members and the eminent speakers, the chairman of SAIARD Dr. Biswajit Roy Chowdhury have announced about organizing ‘International Urban Conclave’ in India soon.

(Inputs by Pratyusha Mukherjee)

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