Saving the water bodies has been a concern for ages but there is hardly any sincere effort on this front. The ambitious Namami Gange programme was lunched with much fanfare but today nobody knows the fate of the Rs 1,500 Cr project. Near home same is the case with reviving of Tawi in Jammu and Devika in Udhampur. Both have religious importance as far as the region is concerned. Besides pollution these water bodies are facing unchecked sand mining, encroachments eating into it and all the projects related to revive them confined to files and kept safely on the shelves of government offices. Tawi today is literally turned into a Nallah accepting garbage from nearby settlements throughout its course of journey. Water levels on these rivers are depleting turning them into stream except during rainy season they get a new lease of life. Today it has lost its place as a river of some eminence and reverence for all its purposes which used to be in yesteryears. Jammu has a limited network of irrigation canals, but the depletion of its rivers is causing the most distant canals to dry up every summer, posing a threat to agriculture. An acute shortage of drinking water in the region has led to demonstrations by protesters during the past few summers. The State Government now is setting up several water treatment plants on rivers in the area to meet demand of drinking water and has started an awareness campaign. It is also encouraging the formation of village sanitation committees to revive traditional ponds and other water bodies to try to restore groundwater levels. Today the depleting ground water level is posing a big problem for agriculture sector too. Years back even the High Court has taken suo moto cognisance of the depleting Tawi due to the surplus dumping of household and municipal wastes and directed the administration to take strict action against those who violated the Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act-2010, but still nothing could be substantiated. According to the J&K Water Resources & Management Act, 2010, whoever disposes of house sewage or other household waste into any water source is liable to be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with a fine which may extend to Rs 10,000, or with both. See the amount of domestic waste washed into it along with polythene which questions the efficacy of the Water Resource Management Act in the State.
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