One of the most renowned environmentalists of Punjab, the man who has been actively creating awareness among people regarding environment protection, the ECO Baba, — Balbir Singh Seechewal is the new talk of the town as his efforts have made the sacred Kale Bein river lively again.
160 km long Kale Bein river is a tributary of Beas in Doaba region of Punjab that was filled with waste materials and was reduced to a small drain a decade ago. The river water dried up in several places due to which neighbouring farms were facing water problems as the water was scarce.
However, the Eco Baba saw the problem and took the initiative of teaching the people about the importance and benefits of protecting and cleaning the river water. He knew that he cannot clean the entire river all alone so he gathered people from 24 villages. He bought the equipment to clean the river with the help of financial contributions made by the villagers.
It took more than a decade for the Eco Baba along with his followers to clean the river, restore water and fill the dried patches. He took help from the Punjab government to build a low-cost underground sewerage system model that collects sewage water from ponds and treats it in a natural way so it can be used for agriculture and irrigation purposes.
In addition, he has put efforts in making the river banks a beauty site by planting trees, bathing ghats, roads and drawing several artworks.
His reputable work has received appreciation not only from India but foreign countries as well. In addition, Balbir Singh has also inspired several people for the conservation of environment.
But it wasn’t always like this. The river was once filled with filth and garbage.
Till one man, Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, took it upon himself to clean up the river.
In 2000, Seechewal popularly known as ‘Eco Baba’, along with a large number of volunteers, decided to take things into his own hands.
Not only did they clean it up and rejuvenate some parts of the river which had been dry for many years, but the team also worked hard to beautify the banks by planting trees.
With restoration of its water flow, thousands of hectares of land have been reclaimed from water-logging in Tehsil Dasuya of Hoshiarpur District, from desertification in Kapurthala district, and from floods in the Mand area of confluence of Beas and Satluj rivers.
Seechewal, along with his team, also made sure that the people around the area were made aware of the ill effects of dumping waste in the river.
Sant Seechewal’s works don’t stop there. He has also been involved in setting up schools, technical centres and degree colleges, and also works toward eradicating poverty, ignorance, superstition, and atrocities against women.
A crusader for environment, Sant Seechewal has established plant nurseries at Seechewal and Sultanpur Lodhi where one lakh plants are distributed annually free of cost among the people as prasad of the Guru.
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