The Maharashtra government has evolved a mechanism for taking forward its flagship jalyukta shivar projects and make it sustainable in the long run. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday said, “We have come out with an exit protocol. All the projects completed in drought-prone villages under the jalyukta shivar would be brought under scientific maintenance process for which dedicated funds would be provided. The decision comes in the wake of making optimum use of the jalyukta shivar for sustainable agriculture across drought-prone districts of Maharashtra.”
Fadnavis announced this in Mumbai at a function where Paani Foundation, an NGO headed by actor and director Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao, declared their decision to organise the water cup competition for jalyukta shivar works in 75 talukas. Paani Foundation has associated itself with the government’s flagship project to take the jalyukta shivar to the grassroots.
The chief minister said, “The greatest success of the jalyukta shivar lies in the proactive participation of people. It has become a people’s movement.” He highlighted the support and contribution of the corporate sector and NGOs in generating awareness about water conservation.
In the past, often corporate projects would be perceived as or confined to something glamorous. But today, we have leading corporate houses partnering the government to take public welfare projects at the grassroots, he said.
Aamir Khan, announcing the Paani Foundation’s decision to take up the water cup competition in 75 talukas covering more than 700 villages, said, “The overwhelming response from the villagers who have united to make jaltukta shivar a common cause has been truly inspirational. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s commitment and support is laudable.”
Referring to challenges in making jalyukta shivar sustainable, Aamir said, “We have deliberated on this aspect at length. All those villages, which have become water reliant, would work on the fundamentals such as water management, soil conservation, crop pattern and cattle fodder.”
The actor, along with his team of dedicated workers, through Paani Foundation has been imparting training to unite villagers to take up jalyukta shivar projects. The NGO’s role is not to provide funds to the villages but to create awareness and inspire them at the grassroots.
Tata Trust chairman Ratan Tata, associated with the Paani Foundation project, said, “We have for long taken water for granted and realise its significance only when it is missing. The chief minister, who is leading the jalyukta shivar from the front, has given it a new identity to bring transformation in villages.”
He said, “Today, jalyukta shivar has turned into a people’s movement promising change at the grassroots to bring dignity and prosperity in the lives of people.”
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, who is also supporting the Paani Foundation, described the jalyukta shivar as a powerful tool to empower people. While describing the efforts of the government, NGOs and corporate houses to unitedly drive the flagship project, he said, “We have to provide tools to the people to enable them to solve their problems.”