As India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day, News18 and Harpic Mission Paani hosted its first Waterthon celebrating the country’s water heroes. The 8-Hour long Waterthon, broadcasted live on Network18’s TV news channels and digital platforms brought together global policy makers, celebrities from all walks of life, the Armed Forces and corporates to address the criticality of water for hygiene and conservation.
Speaking in a live conversation with Akshay Kumar, campaign ambassador for News18 and Harpic Mission Paani, on the Buldhana model, Nitin Gadkari – Minister for Road Transport & Highways and the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the Government of India, commented, “It’s important to use water in the right places. Daudne wale paani ko chalne ke liye lagao, chalne waale pani ko rukne ke liye lagao, aur ruke hue paani ko zameen ke neeche lagao. This way, village water goes to the villages, irrigation water to the fields and water meant for the home to the household. There is absolutely no wastage. In the Buldhana to Ajanta region, we had 12 projects spanning 491 kms where we removed mud around the water bodies amounting to 65.59 lakh cubic metres. This saw 152 villages with a population of 4.83 lakh residents get water. If we are to talk about costs, it came up to INR 410 crore. But with the system in place there were no spends. Profits double for a farmer when they have the desired amount of water. Under such a scheme, we will witness less suicides. From such a small area, I am very confident that this can happen everywhere – on the highways of Mumbai and New Delhi. And with the co-operation of state governments, this can be amplified to a national level.”
India’s largest Waterthon witnessed a series of thought-provoking sessions deliberating on efficient solutions and the need to prioritize efforts towards water conservation. Amidst much fanfare, Harpic Mission Paani launched a special ‘water’ curriculum for school children. The curriculum highlights the importance of water to maintain hygiene and conservation.
Host of notable personalities such as Gajendra Singh Shekhawat — Minister of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, Dr. Harsh Vardhan — Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Tech, Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ — Minister, Human Resource Development, Government of India, Smriti Irani — Union Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development along with celebrities like AR Rahman, Mallika Sarabhai, Prasoon Joshi, Sadhguru, HH Chidanand Swami, Rajkumar Rao, Mandira Bedi, Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Gul Panag, Bhumi Pednekar, Vishwanathan Anand amongst others celebrated the journey and impact of the News18 and Harpic Mission Paani campaign. The live event featured song and dance performances by Esha Deol in the opening dance act followed by Malini Awasthi, Shaan and the evergreen Indian Ocean.
Water is precious. Every drop counts. Every effort matters. Let’s all pledge together for a more equitable, more sustainable tomorrow, by focusing on water as well as hygiene.