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Ians

Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal of a 'Nadi Utsav' (river festival) near every river, multiple states with the help of Centre are planning an event at a river bank on December 15 to bring people closer to the rivers.

This is in a way continuation of and culmination of the Ganga Utsav held every year to mark the anniversary of announcement of River Ganga as the 'National River' November 4. This year's Ganga Utsav was organised from November 1 to 3.

In fact, 'Ganga Utsav 2021 - The River Festival' by Namami Gange was to be celebrated not just along the Ganga river but all the rivers across the country. Administrative reasons delayed it and now, the Nadi Utsav will be held on December 15.

"As the Prime Minister said, the idea is to connect people with the rivers. In most urban areas, people have turned their back to the rivers, they have almost forgotten their own city's rivers," said the Real Time Information Specialist at Namami Gange, Peeyush Gupta.

The festival is all about people's participation, connecting the people again with their rivers, he said.

The celebrations this year will be part of the ongoing celebrations for 75 years of Independence and 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', an official from the Jal Shakti Ministry said.

Modi had, during his 'Mann Ki Baat' address on September 26 appealed, "To all people living near every river; to countrymen, I will urge that in India in all corners at least once in a year, a river festival must be celebrated."

Addressing the 81st episode of the monthly radio talk, Modi had said, "We mark so many days, but there is one more day we should celebrate. It is the 'World River Day'. This day is such which is very consistent with the traditions of India."

Melas/fairs have been traditionally held along the river banks across India and ghats (embankmemts) witness regular activities. Similarly, the December 15 festivities will include cultural programmes, tree plantations and ghat cleaning activities among others.

Namami Gange will be organising the Nadi Utsav along the places in Ganga basin. "For other states, we are asking them to raise their own funds and ensure people's participation," Gupta said.

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