OCT 31, 2000, M2 Communications – A 20-member Swedish delegation led by Mr. Kjell Larsson, Minister of Environment, Government of Sweden called on the Union Minister for Water Resources, Shri Arjun Charan Sethi here yesterday. The Minister for Water Resources at the outset welcomed the leader and the delegation for paying a visit to India. Shri Sethi initiated the discussion by saying that the environment and water resources are two vital subjects [which have] engaged the attention of the planners, administrators, engineers, ecologists and technocrats [the] world over as the source is fast depleting due to rapid urbanisation, growth of population and bio-degradation of nature. He called for mutual collaboration in these spheres to tackle the problems faced by both the countries.
Shri Z. Hasan, Secretary to the Union Ministry of Water Resources, a technocrat outlined the area of work, the Ministry of Water Resources is presently looking after. He briefly narrated that the country is endowed with full of perennial rivers, rivulets, and falls. But due to rapid growth of population coupled with urbanisation, the water sources are fast depleting in the country both for the purpose of irrigation and potable water. Over and above this, the ground water is gradually decreasing due to over exploitation of resources for human consumption. In many cases, he further said the ground water is contaminated by arsenic and fluoride chemicals which cause health hazards to the population. Shri Hasan told the delegation about the tremendous potential of hydro- power in the country which is yet to be fully harnessed. In this regard, he sought Swedish cooperation, as they are one of the global leaders in power generation, tapping wind power to generate electricity for irrigation. He wanted to know the Swedish environmental technology to tackle other water related problems.
The delegation consisting of representatives of major power companies, technocrats, ecologists and waste management experts from Sweden who have been engaged in environmental protection in Sweden and other developed and developing countries like Japan, Singapore and Australia. As Sweden is one of the first country in the World to recognise the growing number of environmental problems, they have taken up the task in their political agenda to combat pollution and other nuisances. They also explained as to how to control air pollution in big industrial cities besides, measures taken to check water and waste water control in the urban conglomeration. The delegates shared their Swedish experience in registering successes in tackling water and waste water treatment, industrial pollution control, waste management, environmentally sound energy system and phasing out Ozone-depleting substances. The delegations expressed satisfaction over the discussions and looked forward to future cooperation in this context.