Few months ahead of the legislative assembly elections in Haryana, efforts to revive the extinct Saraswati, a river from the ancient Hindu scriptures the Vedas, are back in focus.

The Saraswati revival project, proposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Haryana government, was recently submitted to an expert panel of the central government seeking terms of reference for environment clearance. The proposal was returned to the state as the proposal neither pertains to irrigation nor hydropower, cases where environment clearance for a river project is required.

Considered sacred by millions of Indians, Saraswati is one among the trio of India’s holy rivers, along with Ganga and Yamuna. As per the documents submitted by the Haryana government in the recent case, around 6000 years ago the Saraswati river disappeared due to tectonic disturbances, impacting its tributaries. At present, those advocating for it, claim that the river is alive and flowing underground.