India’s Himalayan rivers have been a cradle of civilisational development and a centre for faith and culture for ages. Ganga being a fertile basin has been a significant contributor to our agricultural economy as well as our river-based agrarian development.
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Panchayats have been the core of India's rural governance even before they received the constitutional mandate through the 73rd constitutional amendment in 1992, forming the basis of decentralization in the country. There are 2.5 lakh gram panchayats; over 6 lakhs villages; around 4500 urban local bodies and 4000 census towns in the country.
Lockdown in April to May 2020 due to COVID-19 led to the mass migration of workers from the cities to villages. Despite strict measures by the government to stop any movement, people facing lost jobs and high cost of living in the cities began to walk back or use whatever transportation was available to travel to their home villages.
The Amphan cyclone that struck the Sundarbans in the month of May this year has wreaked havoc in the area destroying lives and livelihood. A lot of the locals living in the Sundarbans depend on animal husbandry and fishing to earn a living. The cyclone destroyed animal rearing shelters and swept away most of the cattle and domestic animals.
UN’s recognition of safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right recently hit a decade and this makes us ponder even more about the situation in the Sundarbans after the Amphan cyclone. The destruction caused by Amphan in the Sundarbans poses a massive threat to the very right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation of the people living there.