Punekars join battle against drought: Jnana Prabodhini
Moved by stories of suffering from the drought-affected parts of the state, social outfits and volunteers individuals have stepped forward to take preventive and curative measures to bring some relief to the water-starved region.
At the forefront of the effort is social organisation Jnana Prabodhini and a group of IT professionals. Jnana Prabodhini has sent a team from its Natural Resources wing, who are working for a long-term solution for the water crisis in Velhe and Bhor talukas of Pune district by digging wells.
“It’s ironic considering the region receives about 3,000 mm of rainfall every year and is one of the wettest regions in the state. Yet, the present situation has come to pass due to inadequate water-harvesting measures,” says Rohan Panse, a volunteer. The hilly terrain means women, who mostly fetch water from the nearest source, have to undertake steep treks of up to four kilometres.
Nachiket Nitsure, a coordinator, says, “We are trying to build wells wherever potential springs may be found. Digging in these regions is arduous as heavy machinery cannot be hauled up here. Temporary bunds need to be built as well.”
Digging a well here means drilling the rock and blasting it with explosives. The debris is removed by groups of villagers and youth from Pune, who travel 70 km every Sunday to Velhe to help out, Mr Nitsure added, and since March, nearly 300 school students have come forward to bring relief to these villages. The Jnana Prabodhini team is working in Guhini, Metpilavre and Gelgane villages at present, he said.
Tankers for Latur
The group of city-based IT professionals have adopted 10 villages in drought-ravaged Latur. The group decided to focus on those villages which did not benefit from administrative largesse and decided to garner funds without NGO aid. The villages in Latur adopted by them are Bodaka, Wakadi, Jawala, Kasar, Bhosa, Tanda, Kadmuli, Mahurwadi, Saranwadi Pandhari.
“We were shocked to read reports of women and children dying during their daily trudge for water. We started with only a couple of villages, considering our limited budget. We slowly began reaching out to friends, colleagues, and family members via social media and organised meetings to sensitise them,” says Raj Sekhon, a group member.
He said their group drives 500 km to visit these villages every week, where they arrange for water tankers and ensure they reach all the villages. Separate tankers are arranged for cattle too.
“Till date, thanks to overwhelming response, we have managed to collect Rs 3 lakh,” he says.
We are trying to build wells wherever potential springs
may be found
Nachiket NitsureCoordinator Jnana Prabodhini