The Madhya Pradesh government should introduce a Bill in the state Assembly to provide living entity status to the Narmada river, Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh suggested on Monday. “The Supreme Court has already accepted rivers as living entities,” he said, according to PTI.

Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had allocated Rs 20,000 crore for the protection and conservation of rivers in the counry. “Under this programme, shortage of money will not come in the way of cleaning rivers, especially the Ganga,” he added.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan assured Singh that his government will introduce the Bill in the next session of the state Assembly. “Narmada will be treated as a human being, and anyone harming it will be punished,” Chouhan said.

Singh and Chouhan made the statements on the occasion of Narmada Seva Yatra, at an event organised in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district.

Last month, the Uttarakhand High Court had declared the Ganga India’s first living entity. The status gave the river the same legal rights as a human being. Anyone polluting the river or harming it anyway can be penalised the way a court can punish someone hurting a human being, according to the court order.