New Delhi: Saraswati River, considered mythical so far, did exist, a committee of experts constituted by the government has said.
“We have reached a conclusion that river Saraswati existed, it flowed. It originated in the Himalayas and met gulf at the western sea,” Professor K S Valdiya, who led the panel, said while handing over the report to the government.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has said the report “cannot be challenged” and that the government will take action on it.
Mr Valdiya, an eminent geologist, said the river passed through Haryana, Rajasthan and North Gujarat, land texture of which was studied by the panel.
According to a senior Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) official, Saraswati passed through Pakistan before meeting Western Sea through Rann of Kutch and was approximately 4,000 km in length.
One-third of the river stretch fell in present-day Pakistan. The longer, two-third stretch measuring nearly 3,000 km in length fell in India, the official claimed.
After a six-month research, the seven-member committee has stated that the river had two branches: western and eastern. The Himalayan-born Satluj “of the PAST”, which flowed through the channels of present-day Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets, represents the western branch of the ancient river.
On the other hand, the panel said, Markanda and Sarsuti (corruption of Saraswati) represented the eastern (rpt) eastern branch of Saraswati, known as Tons-Yamuna.
On his part, Mr Valdiya, a Padma Bhushan awardee, said the committee, during its six-month research, came across “an unique” palaeochannel (a path abandoned by river when it changes its course) relating to present Ghaggar, Sarsuti, Hakra and Nara rivers. Historically, he said, that around 1,700 “small and big” towns and villages were located around the palaeochannel concerned during Harappa Civilisation.
“Some towns were spread over more than 100 hectares. These colonies were there for 5,500 years. Was it possible that these cities could live without water? No. It means that a flowing river provided water to the towns, villages. Which river it was? What was its name? We worked to find it out,” Valdiya said.
The committee, during its research, studied piles of sediments, their shapes and features which appeared to have been brought by a “big river” and are reminiscent to ones found in present-day Ghaggar, Ganga and Yamuna.