MP introduces novel concept to keep Narmada healthy

In an effort to keep the Narmada pollution-free, the state government has decided to launch a novel bio-health monitoring programme.

Bhopal: In an effort to keep the Narmada pollution-free, the state government has decided to launch a novel bio-health monitoring programme, wherein species that feed on pollutants will be introduced in the river.

The programme, initiated by Madhya Pradesh`s Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA), will also include frequent assessments of the health of Narmada river over a period of time.

"The concept is based on the age-old practice of `Benthic Invertebrate Population` which was earlier found in plenty in healthy rivers, but these days due to growing pollution, it
has become a rare thing," NVDA Vice Chairman O P Rawat told PTI today.

Madhya Pradesh is the first state in the country to introduce this natural way of keeping rivers healthy, he said.

Benthic invertebrates are those species which feed on and convert pollutants present in the rivers into food for aquatic animals, thus helping keep the river healthy in a natural manner, he explained.

"After conducting a bio-analysis of the pollutants present in Narmada, efforts would be made to revive the benthic invertebrate population in the river to keep the water pollution-free," Rawat said.

The bio-health monitoring project will also include on-the-spot labs to assess the river, on the lines of similar systems in Canada, Australia, France and the US, he said.

"This system will be introduced in Narmada river soon and as per preliminary estimates, Rs 100 crore will be spent on the monitoring project," Rawat said.

He claimed this was a more "viable and natural" programme to keep rivers healthy as compared to big-budgets schemes introduced for Ganga and other rivers.

Under the proposed system, study centres will be set up right from the origin of Narmada river, Amarkantak, to the Madhya Pradesh border.

At these centres, invertebrates called `benthons` will be studied. Benthons cannot withstand pollution and their ample presence in water is index of its good quality, officials said.

Besides study of benthons, the `Bio-Health Monitoring System` will also undertake bio-mapping of Narmada river on the basis of other researches and studies, they said.

Parallely, modern equipments will also be made available to the local administration of districts along the banks of Narmada river for purification of effluents.

"Wherever a fall in health indices is noticed during Bio-Health Monitoring, process of water treatment will be set in motion after detecting its sources," an official said.

Services of experts in the area of bio-health monitoring system too will be taken for providing adequate training to those involved in the project.