Vastavam web: Actor Aamir Khan has said that gathering people from villages to improve the water situation in Maharashtra was a huge challenge.Aamir’s Paani Foundation aims to impart knowledge and bring about a change at the grassroots level in Maharashtra about water conservation and watershed management.”If there are cracks in the society, the water will seep through. You have to remove all the cracks and then come together and then you will grab water,” Aamir said in an interview here.
The 53-year-old actor added that the “biggest task is getting people together for this cause because society is fractured on many levels”.”But certainly it’s a challenge that has been overcome by the villagers themselves. We are just training them. That is the beauty of this idea. That the village does things on its own to solve the problem,” he added.At Paani Foundation, which was founded by Aamir in 2016, the team empowers villagers and gives them a sustainable solution for water conservation which is expected to help them for years.
“All the work will be done by the village. They will decide what is the area of their land, how many watersheds fall into it, what is the kind of work they need to do.”Certainly, it will contribute to that. Water is not the only reason for farmers’ suicides,” he said.Aamir appealed to students and people living in the state’s urban areas to join the initiative, by becoming “jalmitras” (water’s true friends) on May 1, which happens to be Maharashtra Day.
People from cities can register on the website of Paani Foundation to work in villages, alongside local residents.”Last year, when we went to a village, the women were doing ‘shramdhaan’ (donating efforts) every day working really hard and the men were lazing around and giving excuses.
“So the women decided that they won’t go home. After work, they all told their husbands they are not coming home if they (men) don’t come for shramdhaan,” he said.The “Dangal” actor has been getting strong support from the state since water conservation and drought elimination is one of the key projects of the Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.”Like we are using Maharashtra State Road Transport buses. It is a big logistical effort but we do give a lump sum of Rs 50 lakh for this. So the CM facilitated that for us. They are helping us a lot. They are being extremely supportive,” the actor added.
Talking about the reports in papers that he wanted to make Maharashtra drought-free in five years, Aamir said, “That’s a claim that has come out in the papers. But I never said that. People asked us what is your hope and I said my hope is that in five years we should not be relevant anymore.