A new grassroot-level volunteer workforce is out there to protect the bio-diversity of river Ganga called Ganga Praharis. A group of 427 trained volunteers are reaching to each and every house in areas along river Ganga to educate them about the importance of protecting river’s bio-diversity.
They are spread over Ganga basin states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
Roped-in by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun as part of the “Biodiversity Conservation and Ganga Rejuvenation” project being sponsored by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the aegis of the Namami Gange programme, these Ganga Praharis are well trained in ecological monitoring of Ganga aqua life, plantation techniques, awareness creation and community mobilization.
They were trained through a series of national, state and site level workshops in diverse skills such as ecological surveys, rescue and rehabilitation of aquatic species, awareness meetings, social interactions and green livelihood skills.
The Ganga Praharis will be linked to various local environmental authorities, non-governmental stakeholders in their respective states and various other national, academic and research institutions for their capacity development.
Not only do these Ganga Praharis performing the task of conserving the deteriorating biodiversity of river Ganga, they are also motivating other people to spread the clean Ganga message, thus, contributing in making clean Ganga mission a mass movement.
The Ganga Praharis will be the role models in inspiring other members of the community to join hands in the efforts for conservation of the biodiversity of river Ganga. Thus, each Prahari shall work on the model of ‘Each One Make Ten’.
Ganga Praharis of the five main stem Ganga basin states will be linked through mobile applications such as Bhuvan Ganga app, my gov app and Swachhta app thereby creating a broad network among them.
One national level training program was conducted recently at Rishikesh for Ganga Praharis from all five main stem Ganga basin states. The Praharis were imparted training on biodiversity, solid waste management, community engagement and cleanliness.
Three livelihood centres have been established in villages around Varanasi (Rampur, Tantepur and Dhakka). Ganga Praharis particularly women are being imparted trainings in these centres.
Some of the activities that Ganga Praharis are regularly involved in are Shram Daan, Ghat Cleaning, Awareness Campaigns, Plantation Drives and coordination with local administration. Ganga Praharis are playing a crucial role in reporting and rescuing of aquatic wildlife in distress, reporting of illegal activities like poaching etc.