After Lagaan, Aamir bats for water harvesting

The actor spoke to Prakash Kulkarni, the editor of our sister publication, Navshakti, on the pressing need for water harvesting 

Mumbai : “At a time Maharashtra is facing a drought and severe water scarcity, it is also an ideal time for the people to come together and fight the adversity, says actor Aamir Khan. The actor, in a detailed conversation with Prakash Kulkarni, the Editor of our sister publication Navshakti, spoke about his organisation, the ‘Paani Foundation,’ which is diligently creating awareness amongst the people on strategies to conserve water. The foundation was inaugurated in February with the objective of ushering in a change in outlook on water conservation.

“There is a good rainfall in many parts of Maharashtra, especially Konkan, but we lack rain water harvesting”, pointed out Aamir. The star feels that it is high time we boost our efforts at water conservation and watershed management in the state. With this objective in mind, he has announced a competition called ‘Water Cup’ in three districts — Beed, Satara and Amravati.

A competition always spurs us to put in our best, says Aamir. So, a water conservation competition in the drought affected regions will draw the best out of the people. However, participation in the tournament will be subject to certain conditions. One, the village councils need to unanimously decide to participate in the competition. Two, after the Village Council’s approval has been obtained, any five interested youths from the village in question need to come up with their ideas on water conservation.

These participants will be trained by the Paani Foundation on water management and encouraged to guide other youngsters in the village. The foundation has also set up a panel of experts to help these youths if they face any technical difficulties while disseminating awareness about water management among the villagers. However, the foundation does not offer any financial help.

Known as Mr Perfectionist, Aamir has done a detailed study on water harvesting and even visited many rural areas in the state. He says that even in some severely drought affected regions he came across villages which have abundant water despite poor rainfall. The reason these villages are not facing a water crisis is that they have good water harvesting strategies. On the other hand, neighbouring villages, which had no water management, were facing a severe crisis, Aamir added.

The actor is convinced that the villagers must take initiatives on their own to participate in the water harvesting campaigns. The meteorological department has forecast that the state will have a healthy monsoon this year. Hence water harvesting can come into play now itself, which will bail out the state in case of a water crisis next year.

Although Aamir has started the initial water conservation awareness campaign in just three districts in collaboration with experts, the actor plans to cover the entire state in next five years.  Aamir accepts that there are difficulties in the campaign he is spearheading but says that he will fight relentlessly for mitigating the water crisis in the state.

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