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Odisha's Green Crusader Ranjan Panda designated Mahanadi Waterkeeper

 

Posted Wednesday July 06, 2016

Ranjan Panda, water, Odisha, Mahanadi, Waterkeeper  
 

Ranjan Panda, Odisha’s green crusader and pioneer of water rights and conservation movements in the state, has got international recognition as one of India’s leading voices of water. The Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors has designated Ranjan as “Mahanadi River Waterkeeper”.

 

HNF Correspondent

 
 

On the eve of ‘World Rivers Day’, Ranjan Panda, Odisha’s green crusader and pioneer of water rights and conservation movements in the state, has got international recognition as one of India’s leading voices of water. The Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors has designated Mr. Panda as “Mahanadi River Waterkeeper”.

“Waterkeeper Alliance is thrilled to have Ranjan Panda to be the eyes, ears, and voice for this vital watershed,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Waterkeeper Alliance President. “The theft of our public waters by polluters is not acceptable. Ranjan is the right leader to fight for clean water in the region,” he added.

The latest Waterkeeper in this global network, Ranjan will work to protect and preserve the Mahanadi River in India by combining his firsthand knowledge of the waterway with an unwavering commitment to the rights of the community and to the rule of law.

 

“This is an appreciation for combined effort of all of us volunteers. It will boost our campaign further,” said Ranjan Panda after receiving the prestigious recognition and designation.

The Mahanadi River Waterkeeper has been dedicated to the cause of advocating conservation of Mahanadi. Convener of Water Initiatives Odisha, a two decade old active and vibrant network on water, Ranjan will now have added strength to advocate for the Mahanadi and her tributaries, protecting and restoring water quality through community action and enforcement.

“Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’s aim,” said Ranjan Panda, “is to provide strong advocacy that will result in an improved quality of life for all citizens whether they rely on it for drinking water or irrigation, or whether they simply value the rivers’ continued well-being.” “It will also be to improve ecological health of Mahanadi”, he added. Ranjan is now campaigning in different ways for the every child’s right to clean water while leading the activities of water activism body 'water Initiative Odisha'.

“Ranjan will have a big job. Waterkeepers defend their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water from law-breaking polluters to irresponsible governments,” stated Marc Yaggi, Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance.

“Until our public agencies have the means necessary to protect us from polluters and the will to enforce our laws, we need to stand up with grassroots advocates like Ranjan and fight for our right to clean water,” Yaggi added.

The Mahanadi Waterkeeper will work on watershed-related issues of Mahanadi in Odisha and join up forces with others who are working in the neighboring state of Chhattisgarh on issues impacting the same river.  He is already known to be the Water Man of Odisha apart from remaining the leading voice of Mahanadi and other rivers of the state.

Ranjan’s major task would be to profile the river and its pollution and then link communities to the river to revive and restore it through participatory ways. Along with volunteers and communities of Mahanadi, with whom he is already working, he would identify threats of pollution from mining; industries, thermal power plants, from ill-managed urban sewerage and garbage; and, also, from threats of climate change including that of sea rise and changing river beds, so on and so forth.  He will work to organize communities and advocate with government and regulatory authorities to save Mahanadi from its current dying state.

 
 

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