Jammu: SMVDU celebrates World Water Day

School of Biotechnology, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University celebrated World Water Day 2023 at Mansar yesterday. Mansar Lake is a world renowned Ramsar Site and is home to aquatic and avian biodiversity.

The event commenced with a keynote lecture delivered by Vice Chancellor of SMVDU, Padma Shri Prof Ravindra Kumar Sinha. Prof Sinha underscored the necessity for implementing robust measures to combat water pollution, including the establishment of sewage treatment plants in urban areas and effluent treatment plants for industrial units.

He expounded upon the cultural, religious and spiritual significance of Mansar Lake and its vital role in providing drinking water, micro-irrigation, nutrient exchange and biodiversity preservation. Prof. Sinha advocated for the implementation of a Lake Management plan for Surinsar and Mansar lakes to promote sustainable eco-friendly tourism.

Head of the School of Biotechnology, Dr Ratna Chandra emphasized the significance of sacred water bodies such as Surinsar-Mansar Lakes in sustaining livelihoods and educating students about the environment. She advocated for an increase in field visits to enhance student awareness. She further underscored the importance of raising awareness about critical issues such as depleting groundwater and excessive use of chemicals in agriculture.

Heritage expert Kirpal Singh expounded upon the importance of water bodies in the Jammu region and their significance within Dogra culture. He elucidated how bawlis, step wells, sacred river sites (Bheds), springs (Nags), Naga temples, folklore, legends and traditions are intimately associated with Dogra respect for water bodies. The programme commenced with a welcome address by event coordinator Dr Shafaq Rasool.

Registrar SMVDU, Nagendra Singh Jamwal, interacted with students and emphasised the need for eco-tourism and local stakeholder awareness and responsibility in preserving water bodies.

A special attraction was a Nukkad Natak staged by acclaimed theatre group Rangyug. The event was attended by over 150 student participants from SMVDU. Students from SoBT participated in a poster-making competition related to the World Water Day theme: “Accelerating Change” and winners were awarded cash prizes and certificates.

A lake walk around Mansar Lake was undertaken by faculty members, research scholars and students from the SMVDU School of Biotechnology. The event concluded with a formal vote of thanks presented by event co-coordinator Dr Indu Bhushan.