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  • 23 July, 2022

  • 8 Min Read



Punjab Chief Minister has been admitted to the hospital, days after he had drunk a glass of water directly from the River Kali Bein.

About the River

  • Kali Bein is one of the most important rivers (more as a rivulet) of Punjab.
  • The total length of the river is around 165 kilometres. It emerges in Hoshiarpur and flows through four districts of Punjab and meets at the confluence of rivers Beas and Sutlej at Harike Pattan.
  • Along its banks are around 80 villages and half a dozen small and big towns. Wastewater from villages as well as industrial waste flows into the rivulet via a drain, turning its water black, hence the name Kali Bein (black rivulet).
  • However, some say Kali Bein means black stream and it got its name due to the black minerals in its water.

Kali Bein’s Cultural significance for Punjab

  • It is said that Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, performed his morning ablutions in the Kali Bein River.
  • He would sit under a “ber” tree, which he himself planted for meditation.
  • When Guru Nanak Dev was staying at the Sultanpur Lodhi with his sister Bebe Nanki, he would bathe in the Kali Bein river.
  • It is said that it is the river where Guru Nanak gained enlightenment and disappeared into the waters one day while taking a dip and appeared 3 days later.
  • He then proclaimed the “Mool Mantra” which is the opening section of Guru Granth Sahib.

Cleaning Of Kali Bein river

  • The water of Kali Bein was polluted due to sewage and industrial waste flowing into it. Grass and dense weeds floating all around.
  • In the year environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seehewal started cleaning the river with the help of volunteers. He is also referred to as ‘eco baba” for his efforts.
  • Weeds were removed and the water was treated the cleaning of the Kali Bein river become one of the first instances of a people’s movement in India, where the water body was revived with the help of citizens and by spreading awareness among the people regarding river conservation.
  • The project became an inspiration for the country and it was recognized by APJ Abdul Kalam who visited the site in 2006. It became an example of using religious devotion for an environmental cause.
  • The Kali Bein project was cited as a model when the National Mission for Clean Ganga was launched in 2015. And studies were conducted on it for its emulation in UP, Bihar, Delhi, etc.

Present Status of Kali Bein River

  • With little vigilance by the government, the movement lost its momentum, and villagers back to their old habits of discharging wastewater into the river and non-functioning treatment plants of wastewater in several villages and towns.
  • As a result, the water became polluted and impacted the aquatic ecosystem visible in the form of dying fish and growing weeds. There is a lack of oxygen in the river, with high levels of toxins.

The Kali Bein is an example of neglect by the government and the people. Cleaning the river should include behaviour change as an important component so that it becomes an imperative duty of the citizens and the government bodies to conserve it and keep it clean.

Source: The Indian Express

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