BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary to be observed as Water Day: Centre

New Delhi: The government will observe B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary as “Water Day” in view of his contribution toward management of the country’s resources, Union minister Uma Bharti said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a national seminar, organised by the Central Water Commission (CWC) here to mark Babasaheb’s 61st death anniversary, she also made a pitch for bringing about reforms for managing water resources and suggested punishment to deter people from misusing water.

“In view of his contribution toward the country’s water resources management, Ambedkar’s birth anniversary (April 14) will be observed as Water Day,” the Union Water Resources Minister said.

Ms Bharti said water is a key issue on the government’s agenda and stressed on using recycled water for non-potable purposes.

“Those who are misusing water should be punished. We have to bring about reforms, but it should be acceptable to all,” she said, referring to the Mihir Shah panel’s report on restructuring of the CWC.

She said 99 projects under the Ministry’s accelerated irrigation benefits programme (AIBP), will help irrigate 80 lakh hectares of additional land.

Dr Ambedkar, during his tenure as Member (Labour) of the Viceroy’s Executive Council (1942-1946), had steered formation of an all-India policy for the development of water resources in the country. For this purpose, he had laid the foundation of the Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission (CWINC) which was the forerunner of the present-day CWC.

Dr Ambedkar advocated the concept of River Valley Authority or corporation for integrated development of rivers. He introduced the concept of multi-purpose development of river basins and his efforts in this direction culminated with multipurpose development of Damodar, Mahanadi and other rivers immediately after independence.

He was instrumental in inclusion of Entry 56 of List 1 and introduction of Article 262 concerning the adjudication of disputes related to waters of inter-sate rivers or river valleys.