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The Kali Bein and its deteriorating Health

  • Published
    22nd Jul, 2022
Context

Kali Bein is a holy rivulet in Sultanpur Lodhi and is significant for the Sikh religion. However, it recently got in news when Punjab Chief Minister got hospitalized after consuming a glass of water directly from the Kali Bein.

Background
  • Kali Beinis a rivulet in Punjab, India that flows into the confluence of the rivers Beas and Satluj at Harike.
  • In the wake of the Green Revolution, the Kali Bein became progressively polluted until it was cleaned and rejuvenated in a mass action led by Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal in the 2000s.

About

  • It is a 165-km rivulet, runs across four districts and meets the confluence of the rivers Beas and Sutlej in
  • The Kali Bein rises from a spring in the Dhanoa village of Dasuya tehsil Hoshiarpur district.
  • Along its banks are around 80 villages and half a dozen small and big towns.
  • Kali Bein literally means the Black Stream.
  • It is called Kali ('black') due to the black colour reflected by the minerals in its waters.
  • The Punjabi word 'bein' derives from the Sanskrit 'veni' meaning a stream or a water body.
  • Beins are a feature of the plains and are marked by their zigzagging course.

Significance

  • Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, is believed to have attained enlightenment after taking a dip in the Kali Bein. 
  • Guru Nanak Dev Ji is said to have disappeared while bathing in the Bein only to reappear three days later.
  • Guru Nanak Dev Ji then proclaimed that "There is no Hindu and there is no Musalman. There is only one God and all are equal before Him.
  • The ‘mool mantra ‘of Sikhism, Ik Onkar, originated from this experience.
  • The Gurudwara Ber Sahib, where Guru Nanak Dev Ji used to meditate under a ber tree, is located on the Kali Bein's banks in Sultanpur Lodhi.

Why it is important to conserve?

  • Kali Bein plays a key role in recharging the water tableand in flood management in its watershed.
  • It is also a key source of irrigation for the agricultural fields there.
  • The Kanjli Wetland, a Ramsar site is supported by the Kali Bein.
  • The use of industrial and agricultural chemicals and the exploitation of groundwater led to the drying up of the Kali Bein along parts of its course and the contamination of groundwater leading to diseases and the drying up of farmlands.

Ramsar Convention for Wetlands

  • It is an international treaty for “the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands”.
  • It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands.
  • It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran.
  • The Convention was signed on 2nd of February 1971.
  • The 2nd of February each year is World Wetlands Day.
  • Number of parties to the convention (COP) is 171.
  • At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the “wise use” of wetlands.
  • Aim: Maintenance of ecological character within the context of sustainable development.
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