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Vol. 4                                      No. 3                          June 2002

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Jal Sunwai in Indore

The Madhya Pradesh (MP) jal biradari (water community) organised a state-level public meet in Kasturbagram, Indore, on May 25. The aim of this meeting was to discuss the long-term impact of the national water policy (NWP) on India and on MP, in particular.

The guest speakers included K J Vyas, former advisor to the Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Mission; Ramaswamy Aiyar, former chief secretary in the Water Resources Department at the Centre; Rajendra Singh, secretary of Tarun Bharat Sangh, an Alwar-based NGO; and, Medha Patekar from the Narmada Bachao Andolan.

The day began with Suresh Mishra from Eklavya, a Bhopal-based NGO, briefing the participants about the reach and functioning of the MP jal biradari. In the first session the NWP was discussed. Aiyar, who drafted the first NWP, lamented that "No attempt has been made to discuss issues like privatisation on a public forum. If the views of people at large were taken into consideration, the contents of the policy would have been completely different."

Shravan Garg, editor of Danik Bhaskar, on the other hand, expressed his disappointment with the inadequate role played by the media in flagging the faults in NWP. The session concluded with the release of ‘Boondhon Ki Sunwai’, a joint compilation by Danik Bhaskar and the MP jal biradari.

The second session concentrated on looking for solutions to the water crisis. While speaking on the relevance of region-specific solutions, Kanti Chaturvedi from Indore felt "water works done in Badnwar, Bhanpur, Patelawad and Swadhyay mandals are exemplary and should be replicated." Paramthesh Ambhasathan from the Samaj Pragati Sahyog informed the participants about watershed projects undertaken by about 90 villages in the Bagali region.

The concluding session discussed the contents of MP’s water policy. Later, a samiti was formed for the preparation of an alternate state-level water policy and Eklavya was given the responsibility to compile the work being done under MP jal biradari.Singh wrapped up the meet by informing the participants about the water walk, that will begin from here and would conclude at Delhi, in August.

For further information:
Suresh Mishra, Eklavya Foundation
E – 1/138, Arera Colony, Bhopal


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Shanta Sheela Nair

shanta.jpg You might as well call her Chennai’s water woman. Shanta Sheela Nair, secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply (MAWS), is the driving force behind the successful implementation of rain water harvesting (RWH) schemes in the bustling metro.

She has also been instrumental in passing the Chennai Groundwater Regulation Act. It was a difficult battle, but the tough-talking bureaucrat eventually won. "It took strict enforcement of the anti-water mining legislation coupled with active support from local communities to stop the mining," reveals the RWH activist.

A woman with a mission, Nair has even included RWH as a part of the flood mitigation and storm drain construction schemes. It was due to her efforts that RWH was made mandatory for new buildings in 1994, and for all buildings in 2002.

To step up the campaign, information centres were put up at all district headquarters. Nair, who has earlier worked with different government departments in Tamil Nadu, has taken her mission beyond Chennai to the rural areas as well.

For further information:
Shanta Sheela Nair
Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply, Secretariat, Chennai 600 009
Tel: 044-5360491

Vijay Kumar

vijay.jpg When it comes to making a difference, a little initiative can go a long way. And no one knows it better than Vijay Kumar, a gardener-cum-mason, who has taken upon himself the responsibility of maintaining the rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems designed by CSE, at Janaki Devi Mahila College (JDMC), New Delhi.

A daily wager for the last ten years, Vijay used his observant nature to study the potentiality of RWH to overcome Delhi’s water problems.

He has a complete understanding of the RWH systems of JDMC. While sharing his views, he made some valuable suggestions to improve the system. He proposed increasing the width of the pipes carrying water from the trench on the main gate to the recharge well. This he believes will reduce 50 per cent of the run off going waste. Vijay feels, "Broken bricks should be used in the filtration bed rather than stones, as bricks have a better capacity to soak and release water."

Vijay has implemented these changes in one of the four filtration beds at JDMC and is now looking forward to spreading the revolutionary technique across a wider spectrum.

For further information:
Vijay Kumar
House No 7, Staff Quarters, JDMC,
Old Rajendra Nagar, New Delhi


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