The Banda district administration in Uttar Pradesh today organised a felicitation programme for people across the state for their contribution to the cause of water conservation.
The 25 awardees included THE WEEK Senior Special Correspondent Puja Awasthi, along with social activists, water experts and other journalists. The awards were handed out by popular comedian Raju Srivastava, who is also the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council.
Awasthi was honoured for her article in THE WEEK on how the Banda district administration is rejuvenating its traditional reservoirs to fight water scarcity.
Speaking on the occasion at the district stadium in Banda, Srivastava said, “We will give tax-free status to films made in the state which speak about the issue of water conservation.” Srivastava, who is from Kanpur, entertained the guests with his trademark mimicry and songs while slipping in messages about water conservation in between.
Banda’s efforts, under its current District Magistrate Heera Lal, have focused on better management of rainwater by digging, cleaning and de-silting ponds and wells which have traditionally stored water, and by adopting simple mechanisms such as digging contour trenches around wells and hand-pumps to prevent run offs. This component is dubbed the ‘Kuan Talab Jiyao Abhiyan’ (Revive Wells and Ponds Mission) and has received recognition at the national level.
The efforts are part of an administration-led and people-supported movement called ‘Bhujal Bachao, Payjal Badhao’ (Save Ground Water, Increase Drinking Water) attempting to turn this around by reviving traditional water reservoirs across the district’s 471 panchayats.
As part of the mission, 572 ponds, 1,536 recharge pits, 840 farm ponds and other storage structures have been constructed. The mission has received technical support from Water Aid.
The event was also attended by Banda MP R.K. Patel.
Post the felicitation, an arti at the banks of the Ken river was organised to underline the cultural significance and life-giving nature of the river.