New Delhi, Feb 25: Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation & Road Transport and Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Monday adjudged Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh as first, second and third National Water Award winners respectively in best state category.
Mr Gadkari distributed 82 National Water Awards in 14 categories.
Addressing the gathering, Mr Gadkari said, 'India does not have a shortage of water, rather, the management of water is not adequate.'
He said a need to institute national level water awards spanning all sectors was strongly felt to encourage people to play their respective roles in conservation of water. A new vision for entire water resource sector is required and National Water Awards is a good step in this direction.
Listing some of the steps which have been taken for effective management of water in India, Mr Gadkari said 400 MLD water from Okhla barrage will be treated and will be used for Delhi through Wazirabad barrage. Apart from this, he added, that many projects have been completed under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMSKY).
The Minister said preference is being given to piped irrigation instead of canal irrigation to conserve water and existing canals are also being concretised to avoid wastage of water. On Clean Ganga Mission, Mr Gadkari said during Kumbh Mela the water was both Nirmal and Aviral and people of India enjoyed the cleanliness. The sighting of dolphins, turtles & birds in Ganga shows that the water quality of the river has improved.
While congratulating all the winners and participants, he sought people’s participation in making the issue of water conservation a public movement. He also acknowledged that groundwater recharge, rejuvenation of water bodies etc. are great challenges.
Minister of State Arjun Ram Meghwal expressed his happiness over National Water Awards which have been resumed after a gap of 12 years and said, 'this is a very big step to spread awareness about water conservation.'
While congratulating all the winners, he urged them to motivate as many people as they can in their respective areas to use water efficiently. He urged the Ministry to hold National Water Awards every year and assured the participants that the next awards will be even better.
In his welcome address, Secretary U P Singh said, 'the country is passing through a critical phase as far as water resource is concerned. Per capita availability is now one-fourth as compared to Independence and management of water resources is the need-of-the-hour.'
Talking about the awards, he said around 376 valid entries were received from all over the country and good work should be rewarded. Mr Singh added that as there was a lack of a national level awards covering entire water sector for healthy competition among states, districts and local bodies, the National Water Awards have been instituted. He hoped that more and more people will come forward in future to participate in such events.
In total, the prizes were distributed in 14 categories including best district in six zones (with 3 sub-categories of best district in groundwater recharge, revival of river and creation of water bodies), best state (normal/special), best village panchayat, best municipal corporation, best research/innovation/adaptation of new technology for water conservation, best mass awareness campaign, best TV show for promoting water conservation, best newspaper in Hindi/English/Regional language, best school, best institution for successful campus water usage, best RWA, best organisation for religious, recreational & tourism water uses, best industry for industrial water conservation and best water regulatory authority.
The prizes include a trophy and citation in all categories. Cash prizes of Rs 2 lakh, Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh for Ist, IInd and IIIrd prize winners respectively were given in some categories.
Girish Mahajan, Minister for Medical Education, Water Resources and Command Area Development, Maharashtra government and Ram Shinde, Minister for Water Conservation and Protocol, Maharashtra government received the Award on behalf of the Maharashtra state.
The Award for the best water regulatory authority was won by Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority, Pune. A separate category of aspirational district was instituted to focus on water management in these areas.
The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation instituted National Water Awards to emphasize the importance of water resource management in India.
The prime objective of these awards is to bring the best efforts being done in water conservation to the national level from across the country and encourage all stakeholders including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Gram Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies, Water User Associations, Institutions, Corporate Sector, Individuals to manage their water resources efficiently.
Mr Gadkari distributed the awards jointly with Mr Meghwal and Mr Singh here. UNI