The water shortage problem has been relentlessly afflicting Maharashtra every year on a large scale. Thousands of villages are highly affected by drought leading to severe monetary issues and also loss of lives.
There have been several initiatives launched to address the issue but the threat of drought still looms every year in the state.
One such initiative launched by Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao has become popular among the villagers. Called the Pani Foundation’s Satyamev Jayate Water Cup, it is working towards making the state drought-free by attracting villages to conserve water.
The Satyamev Jayate Water Cup is essentially a competition among villages to determine which village has worked efficiently to conserve maximum water within the period of the competition.
On Sunday, August 6, the award distribution ceremony of the second edition of the competition was held in Pune. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Minister of State for Water Resources Ram Shinde, Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak, Shahrukh Khan, Reliance Foundation’s Nita Ambani, Satyamev Jayate’s creator Satyajeet Bhatkal, Tata Trust’s R. Venkat, actor Atul Kulkarni were among other dignitaries and celebrities from the Marathi and Hindi Cinema who were present at the felicitation programme.
A total of around 1,300 villages from 30 talukas of Maharashtra participated in the second edition.
Speaking at the prize distribution ceremony, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The villagers have shown that if we decide to do something, a lot can be achieved and working for the conservation of water in Maharashtra is the greatest work one can do for the state. If we continue these efforts, in two years we will be able to make Maharashtra drought-free.
“In the first edition of the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup, three villages participated in the competition. In the second, 30 villages participated. We hope that around 100 such villages will take part in the competition next year and help in making Maharashtra drought free.
“By coming up with the idea of the Water Cup, Aamir Khan has started a revolution that will not stop in Maharashtra. If we want to make the state prosperous then we have to conserve water, land and forests of the state,” he added.
The Chief Minister also said that he will make a provision of Rs 6.5 crores for the villages that have done well in the Water Cup. Additional monetary prizes were also granted from the government to the winners.
Shahrukh Khan stood in for Aamir and Kiran as the couple are recovering from swine flu and were unable to attend.
Addressing a crowd of around 10,000 spectators, Shah Rukh said, “Today I have learned so much from the people present here. I learnt that however big the idea is, if it doesn’t involve the efforts of the people behind it, the idea can never be successful.
“The people from the villages of Maharashtra are the real heroes. They work in the scorching sun 24×7 in their fields. But due to some natural disaster their efforts go to waste and cause hardships.
“Yet you haven’t lost hope and have today proved that even such natural disturbances cannot stop you.
“The most important thing I learnt is that unity is the biggest strength. Every one of you are from different caste, creed, colour and ideologies but still you have ignored the difference and worked collectively for the cause which speaks that there is a lot of unity among us Indians,” he added.
Addressing the gathering through a video call, Aamir said, “I am very sad that on the day of greatest happiness, I am unable to be with all my friends at the event.
“We have been diagnosed with a communicable disease, swine flu, hence we are taking precautions and staying at home. But it is great to see that people in huge numbers have gathered here for the event.
It is the fruit of your hard work,” Aamir added.
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