Anita Bhatnagar Jain, Vice-Chairperson,
Kanpur Development Authority, is an IAS officer (1985
batch). Mrs. Jain was born in Allahabad and received her basic
education from Loreto Convent, Lucknow. She has been a meritorious
student throughout. Before joining IAS, she was selected for IRS
in 1983. As an IAS officer, she has served in various capacities
in the state of Uttar Pradesh. She is an environmental enthusiast
and her works and achievements bear this out. She has been conferred
with “Paryavaran Shiromani” by UP Chief Minister and
“Rotary Ratan 2003” by UP Urban Development Minister
for her contribution in environmental field. She spoke her mind
on various environment and pollution related issues, while talking
to Rakesh K Jaiswal, Executive Secretary,Eco-friends.
do you think about man-nature relationship? Any change in peoples’
perception about the nature and natural resources over the years.
is a part of nature. Man was living in perfect harmony with nature.
There was no environmental imbalance. But the situation has reversed
now. The world is experiencing the ecological strain. This can
be attributed to twentieth century thinking. In an average day,
an estimated 2.6 lac people are added to the world’s population,
dozens of species of plants and animals are prematurely extinguished,
approximately 1 lac new motor vehicles take to the road, millions
of tons of carbon dioxide are released to the atmosphere, thousands
of hectares of forests are destroyed, millions of tons of top
soil are lost and thousands of children die from contaminated
drinking water. This conveys the enormity of the environmental
challenge today. Homo-sapiens are in collision with the carrying
capacities of the nature. Human beings are disturbing the nature.
We think that every thing is for our use. Human beings are driving
others out of their habitat. We are thinking about our rights
only. We used to worship nature. Though it’s done even today
but only as a ritual. If we really worship nature, we should not
destroy our forests and poison our water-bodies. Our values have
deteriorated. Our relationship with nature has changed.
How do you rate Kanpur in terms of environmental quality?
bad. Forest cover is just 1 %, while it should be 33%. Garbage
is littered everywhere, pigs roam freely everywhere and anywhere,
air quality is worst and most often in news on national channels.
But it’s like any other town of Uttar Pradesh. Sometimes
I feel Kanpur is better than other towns. The town is big, the
population is large and the problems are proportionate to the
do you prioritize top five problems of Kanpur city? Any plan to
rate pigs, garbage, traffic congestion, blaring of horns and encroachment
as the top five problems of the city. General apathy, lack of
volunteerism and awareness are big handicaps in solving the problems.
There is negativism in the society, people do not take inspiration
from someone who is doing some good work. Instead encroachers
become the role models. KDA has taken several initiatives to tackle
each of the aforesaid problems.
Is there any vision for Kanpur, any integrated plan for
A “Vision document” is being prepared by “Price
Water House Coopers”. Various needs of the town like housing,
water, sewage, transportation etc. are being assessed. The document
will be ready in 2-3 months. Kanpur Development Authority has
a “Master Plan-2021” which is being implemented by
a Task Force under the Chairmanship of Commissioner, Kanpur Division
.KDA is the coordinator of the Task Force.
have launched several environmental campaigns and taken fresh
initiatives to ameliorate the environmental condition of Kanpur
in your official capacity as DM & VC, KDA. Tell me something
about the campaigns and drives? Have you been environmentally
active even before?
my tenure as District Magistrate in various districts, I lead
many tree plantation drives involving private participation. “UP
Regulation & Control of Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable
Garbage Act” was drafted by me as Special Secretary, Urban
Development. A massive anti-polybag mass awareness campaign was
launched by me as DM, Kanpur. 45,000 trees were planted in 2001-02
during my tenure as VC, KDA. Land were allotted to private entrepreneurs
for flower cultivation. A self sustained vermi-composting project
was started in Kanpur. Rain water harvesting schemes were implemented
for the KDA and KNN office buildings. A “Paryavaran Bal
Vahini “ (Kids Brigade for Environment) has been formed.
Tell something about Paryavaran Bal Vahini, What is it, its objective?
Bal Vahini-a contingent of 35,000 school children has been formed
to sensitise the young minds towards environment. Its difficult
to change the grown ups, therefore efforts should be made to prepare
the young minds so that they could grow up as environmentally
responsible human beings. The Paryavaran Bal Vahini has planted
more than 35,000 trees in Kanpur. The Vahini is engaged in various
do you perceive Ganga? What do you think about Ganga in Kanpur?
Would you take a dip in and aachaman (mouthful) of Ganga waters?
is not only a river, it’s a deity. We call her Ganga Ma.
I’m fortunate to be born in a town along Ganga and having
stayed along Ganga in Kanpur as DM. Ganga is different from other
rivers. We do not have the same respect for Gomti, nor do we ever
say “Gomti Ki Jai “. Ganga is a beautiful mythological
river. Great civilisations were born in the lap of Ganga.
Ganga flows like a sewage drain for 8 months in Kanpur. It stinks
profusely and the stench is nauseous.
taken a holy dip in the midstream at Sangam and also at Rishikesh
but can never imagine doing it in Kanpur. I can not dare take
aachman of Gangajal from plains.
What factors are responsible for the pathos of Ganga?
explosion, illiteracy, poverty, and resource crunch are mainly
responsible for the present pathos of Ganga.
Can Ganga ever be restored to its pristine purity and beauty?
Ganga can be restored to its pristine purity. Sustained and concerted
efforts are required both by the government and the citizens.
It will not take more than a decade if serious and honest efforts
you satisfied with the efforts being made to restore Ganga?
satisfied that efforts are being made atleast. Earlier there was
no plan. A beginning has been made. Now STPs are being planned.
New colonies are being planned with sewage management system.
KDA plans to construct 3 STPs under the New Master Plan. There
is no dearth of money. Things are happening.
do you think about the prevalent polluting social practices like
body dumping etc. How can this be mitigated?
poor people do this. Electric crematoria should be made functional
and popularised. Awareness is required on a massive scale. Administration
should be strict and should keep a constant vigil on such activities.
religious leaders have some role in restoring Ganga?
unites people. People can do anything for religion. Even illiterate
people would listen. Religious leaders should educate and awaken
people not to pollute Ganga. Ganga has religious significance
and therefore it’s easier to mobilise the masses. Religious
leaders should come forward to assume the role of educators.
vision for Ganga.
is more than a river. It should be absolutely clean and beautiful
so that people could take a dip and aachman without any hesitation.
should be done to protect Ganga?
should launch as many schemes as possible to make Ganga pollution-free.
NGOs and civil society should work with and supplement the efforts
of the government.
Any appeal /message to the masses.
we are: Its one earth, one life, lets make the difference.