Pune: The villagers of Takewadi (Andhali) in Maan taluka in Satara district won the first place in the Satyamev Jayate Paani Foundation Water Cup 2018 for carrying out the most efficient watershed management in the village. The villagers were awarded a trophy and Rs 75 lakh on Sunday.
The second place was shared by the villagers of Bhandavali (Maan taluka in Satara) and Sindkhed (Motala taluka in Buldhana), who had to share a cash prize of Rs 50 lakh, while the third place too was jointly shared by Anandwadi (Ashti taluka in Beed) and Umtha (Narkhed taluka in Nagpur).
In its third edition, Water Cup 2018 saw participation of 75 talukas where capacity to store 22,269 crore litre of water was created through rainwater harvesting works done over a period of 45 days.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that what made the movement by Paani Foundation a success was that it brought the people of the village together. “Water conservation is the only solution to Maharashtra’s water crisis, and unless it becomes a people’s movement, it cannot be
The government had launched Jalayukta Shivar Scheme, however, if it had continued to remain the government’s scheme, it would never have been successful. Change cannot be brought about by an outsider, it has to be developed amongst the common people and the communities, and I can say that Paani Foundation has successfully achieved this,” Fadnavis added.
Fadnavis also announced that apart from the cash prizes awarded to the statewide winner, the government would also award Rs 25 lakh, Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh to the first, second and the third prize winners respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, the Founder of Paani Foundation, actor Aamir Khan, said, “Three years ago, the Foundation was conceived just as a dream, and not just the dream of the leaders, but the dream of the whole State. The dream will be fulfilled only when more and more people join the force to fight against drought through watershed management.”
While Fadnavis suggested the involvement of 100 talukas for the Water Cup next year, Khan said that the next year would be spent consolidating the journey of the past three years. “We have moved from three talukas in the beginning, to 30 and then 75. Though we would love to involve 100 talukas next year, this year, we will be going over what we have learnt in the past three years, understanding the watershed management deeper and improving our technique so that we can come back stronger in the following year. But we will definitely not decrease the number of talukas,” he added.
Former deputy chief minister and senior state leader Ajit Pawar, who was also present, said that while hard work and people’s participation have led to the success of the Water Cup, what is now more important is the consistency.
Apart from the villagers, the Panlot Sevaks, social and technical trainers, government officials involved in the project as well as the several people, who funded the project, were also felicitated at the event.
Along with thousands of villagers from different villages across the State that carried out the watershed management project, Amruta Fadnavis, Kiran Rao, Co-Founder of Paani Foundation, and other renowned personalities from Marathi and Hindi film industry like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Atul Kulkarni, musicians and singers Ajay Atul were also present on the occasion.