Bhubaneswar: Hundreds of children on Wednesday formed a human chain along with residents on the bank of a river in Odisha seeking right to play in safe water bodies.
Carrying placards and banners in support of their demands, the children and their supporters created the human chain at Sambalpur town, about 320 kilometres from Bhubaneswar, on the bank of Mahanadi, the state's longest river.
"The rivers and ponds are becoming polluting places as people are dumping their garbage," Ranjan Panda, convenor of Water Initiatives Odisha, a network of civil society organisations, which organised the event, said.
"The value of rivers and ponds is no more being recognized by policy makers and the so-called educated communities," he said.
"We have launched a 'Clean Water Bodies Are Children's Rights' movement, targeting at urban areas of the state initially. Later, we want to take this up at national level in both urban and rural areas," he said.
Depending on the experience the group will add on other issues such as safe drinking water, sanitation and related rights and needs of the children of the nation, he added.
"Water is a right to life and it has a right of its own to exist. Unless we protect our surface water bodies from decaying and dying, we will fail in our duties in many ways, including that of providing a healthy childhood to all our children," Panda, who is leading the campaign, said.