Revitalizing Maharashtra’s rivers

7th of Jul 2013
  Maharashtra
India

Art of Living’s Jal Jagruti Abhiyan works wonders

Several villages in Maharashtra are today springing to life again, thanks to the Jal Jagruti Abhiyan, a multi-pronged initiative of The Art of Living that is addressing water issues in a concerted and effective manner in Sangli, Latur, Osmanabad and Jalgaon. This initiative is part of a larger project, Volunteer for a Better India (VBI), started by  The Art of Living Founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, which is making a real difference across the country.

The 'Jal Jagruti Abhiyan' is actively engaged in de - silting rivers and increasing their holding capacity, cleaning the beds of debris and waste, and strengthening river banks to hold up during floods at a number of points in various districts. The rivers Terna and Gharni, bandharas at Takli and Jewali, as well as the Esai Devi and Babhalgaon tanks are among the water bodies that have been cleaned up, benefitting several villages in Sangli, Jalgaon, Osmanabad and Latur districts. In Jalgaon alone, canals in 6 villages in 6 talukas have been recharged.

The barrage on the Terna river at Kamegaon (Osmanabad) has been cleaned, widened and deepened, and manually operated gates have been fixed.  “On this river alone we cleared 55000 sq.m. of river bed of debris, waste material and shrubs, increasing the water capacity by 155 lac litres. Not only this, more than 15,500 cu.m. of silt was transported from river bed and spread across 51,803 sq.m. of land, improving its fertility considerably. In Sangli, there was water shortage because of the draught, in two months, we have supplied 28,08,000 litres of water through 468 tankers." said Nitin Bhosale, Project co-ordinator, The Art of Living. 

Underground aquifers are being recharged by such work in other places in Osmanabad district as well, among them the cement bandhara at Takli village, the Esai Devi tank at Tawrajkheda, and the Kolhapur bandhara at Jewali. Even in forest areas, drinking water sources are being recharged. In Latur district, the Gharni river at Shirur Anantpal and the Babhalgaon percolation tank have been desilted, and the Katpur nala widened. Rainwater harvesting is also being promoted in a big way.

“ Through the Jal Jagruti Abhiyaan, we have reached out to  more than 33 villages in 4 districts of drought  affected areas and benefitted more than 80,000 people. We have received tremendous response from the people who have come out and supported this initiative. As responsible citizens of the country, the villagers are also taking active participation in these initiatives at different places." shared Makrand Jadav  of The Art of Living.

In a similar attempt to revive and rejuvenate rivers, The Art of Living through VBI has undertaken 'Kumudvathi River Rejuvenation' plan in Karnataka. The project could potentially address 60% of Bangalore's water needs. In the past three months, 78 boulder checks, 5 recharge wells have been constructed and 17 Kalyanis have been cleaned and repaired by a 150 volunteers.