Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s one of the most ambitious projects — rejuvenation of the Rispana river — has finally started in Dehradun. Thousands of volunteers joined hands with the CM on Saturday to dug pits in the state capital to plant saplings. The second phase will start in the third week of July when a plantation drive will be conducted.

Under the Rispana revival project, the digging of pits will continue till July. The aim is to plant 2.5 lakh saplings on the bank of Rispana river — from its beginning point Landhour to Mothrowala. That too in a single day!

The historic Rispana river is struggling for its survival, due to mass encroachment. The river beds of the seasonal river has turned into a gold mine for many political leaders who provide full support to the encroachers to protect their vote bank. The current drive by the local administration to remove encroachment, creating drainage facility and stopping public from dumping garbage on the river bed is also likely to face a serious challenge.

Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat said, “Political parties should join the campaign. Reviving campaign of river Rispana is not merely a political issue but it is for the future of next generation. Campaigns on water conservation by Sachinanand Bharti, Sri Sri Ravishankar and waterman Rajendra etc were successful due to public support.”

Over 8000 volunteers of eco-task force, police, trainees at LBSNAA, students and state government staff participated in the programme on Saturday. The digging programme will be conducted every Saturday, at 39 blocks marked for the project.