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New Report: Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, Aug. 29, 1998

Ambitious project to trace river Saraswati

New Delhi, Aug. 28: The Centre has embarked on an ambitious project to trace Saraswati,the mythological river believed to be flowing underground and forming the Sangam in confluence with the Ganga and the Jamuna.

If the latest scientific observations are confirmed, then the river Saraswati could still be flowing under the deserts of Rajasthan, most probably somewhere near the Indo-Pakistan border.

The Central Ground Water Board is launching a massive project next month with the assistance of the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, Physical Reserach Laboratory, Ahmedabad, Indian Space Research Organisation and Rajasthan State Ground Water Board.

The attempt to trace the holy river is being launched from Longowala, which became part of the sub-continent’s history during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.

Starting from the far western part of the state, the project is expected to cost Rs 1.25 crores.

“We hope to complete the project in two years. The first phase of the project covering Western Jaisalmar will be completed in four months,” CGWB Jaipur regional director S C Sharma said.

The project, claimed to be the final culmination of a series of observations made in the last 10 years by the CGWB, is the most scientific attempt in Indian history to trace the holy river, which a group of historians say was the craddle of a Vedic culture.

Sharma said the hydro-geological surveys in the past 10 years by the Central and State ground water boards, and the satellite imageries in the last three years have shown “signature marks” of the path of “some hidden flowing systems” in Rajasthan.

Incorporating this with historical works, especially a paper published in 1968 on Saraswati, the board and other experts believe that the river could have been flowing somewhere in the state. The CGWB authorities have identified eight areas in Rajasthan where the “signatures” have been found for further investigations.

While the board will carry out the bore hole electrical logging, BARC will
carry out dating of water to judge how old it is, and the Physical Laboratory will determine the sediments in different depths.

Specialised atomic tests, further investigations, and a detailed Lytho Chart could finally throw light on the hidden river, says Mr Sharma, a former UN consultant and a senior hydro-geologist who will be overseeing the entire project.

The board will employ a costly Geophysical Resistivity equipment recently
imported from Japan for the project. A group of historians have claimed in the recent past that by the river there could have been a pre-Harappan culture which “is the mother of a matured Harappan culture”.

This group of historians, who claim Aryans were not invaders, wants to call the Indus Valley civilization as the “Saraswati Civlization”. The particular group of Indian historians also question the claims of Mortimer Wheeler, who excavated Mohenjodaro and Harappa, that light skinned Aryans invaded from Central Asia destroying Indus Civlization.

“Research (to find Sarswati) is one part of the project. If there are hidden channels of rechargable water then it could be of great use to a state like Rajasthan for more water supply,” says Mr Sharma, refusing that the project has any politics to it.

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