DEHRADUN, Jan 3
Doon based student activist group, Making A Difference by Being the Difference (MAD) reached Woodstock forests while following the river Rispana Mausi fall onwards from Barloganj. The trek which started at around 6 am was finally concluded at 2 pm. In the course of the 7 hours of trekking, MAD members covered a distance of over 7 kms that had no pathway and involved trekking very dangerous and muddy mountains which were prone to landslides.
The focus of the trek was to follow river Rispana right up till its source. As MAD members had already trekked up till Thaliyani and had covered one stretch of Rispana’s tributary that meets the main river at Shikhar Falls in old Rajpur, a need was felt to also follow the river beyond Mausi falls where MAD members. Therefore, this trek was planned and undertaken early morning on Wednesday.
In the course of the trek, members uncovered various challenges faced by the stream. Contrary to public knowledge, MAD found that it is not just Dehradun city which has made a living hell out of river Rispana. Mussoorie deserves an equal share of blame of not more. Mad counted as many as five water tanks and many other private property encroachments right up till the river bed as members made way along the stream. While it is understood that water requirements are legitimate reasons and expectations to somehow find a nearby water source, such conduct by private parties needs to be regulated by civic and governmental authorities. As mad stumbled upon one encroachment after another and one tank after another right on the river bed, there was little or no sign of any kind of check that the local authorities maybe carrying out in those regions – especially because MAD had been consistently raising the issue of the condition of the Rispana stream with the local administration and in all the data sharing that they did, mention was only made of drawing water from Shikhar falls but none about what happens to the river above Mausi falls where much of Mussoorie is sourcing its water either legally or illegally directly from the stream.
Moreover, even as the water remained crystal clear, there were visible substantial traces of assorted garbage all along the stream’s catchment area which showed that this was what was being fed to the river by Mussoorie residents. As mad members were about to conclude their trek, their attention was disturbed by a loud noise of a motor which was pumping water directly from the stream. Members were under the impression that this would also be the infrastructure of the Jal Sansthan, but they were shocked to know that a reputed private schooling Mussoorie was drawing much of the water flowing in Rispana directly. Members wondered whether this was even legal or permissible to directly draw water from the stream and not from available infrastructure networks provided by the government, if any. Nonetheless members continued to track the flow of the river which was becoming narrow but continued to exist as the trek continued upwards. Towards the end of the trek members saw the water originating from an area near Woodstock school at which point the trek was concluded.
It may be noted that Chief Minister T.S. Rawat had encouraged MAD members to inform him about the condition of the river near Landour and above Mausi falls. Mad had carried out its activity under that pretext.