Pune: April 20th 2018:This year on the 1st of May - Maharashtra Day - there is a unique opportunity for city folk to come out in large numbers and work shoulder-to-shoulder with villagers for a few hours. Speaking at a college event in Pune, Founder of Paani Foundation, Shri Aamir Khan appealed to students and all urban citizens to become ‘Jalmitras’ and join this effort against drought. By signing up on the link jalmitra.paanifoundation.in, people from cities can register to work in villages with villagers on 1st May which is Maharashtra Day. The last date for registration for 1st May Mahashramdaan is midnight on 25th April.

Speaking onthe occasion “Mr. Aamir Khan, Founder, Paani Foundation said, “I am grateful toSymbiosis University for giving me the platform to connect with students &youth. I would like to appeal all the young of Maharashtra to join us in thenoble cause to make Maharashtra drought free. On the occasion of MaharashtraDay let’s celebrate it with Mahashramdan and bridge the rural-urban divide.Till now we have 1 lakh registration on Jalmitra app & we are expectingmore support from all over Maharashtra. I would request each & every personto do Shramadan & aggressively participate in this people’s movement tomake the state drought free.

 Dr. Vidya Yerawadekar, Principal Director,Symbiosis University, said “Symbiosis plans to join this movement & willensure student participation. Also symbiosis will soon start a wateruniversity. Student from symbiosis institute of geo informatics will help inresearch related to soil. Students will get extra four credits afterparticipating in this event.

Around 1 lakhpeople have already signed up to be Jalmitras in the past three weeks. If youdo not have to time to travel to a village on 1st May you could also contributeby donating money towards machine work for creating watershed managementstructures, and by volunteering to help the villagers with certain tasks. Justvisit www.paanifoundation.in and all your questions will be answered.

In 2016Paani Foundation, a no profit company started by Aamir Khan and KiranRao,organised the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup which is a competition held each yearbetween villages to see which village does the best work in watershedmanagement. This is a people’s movement for a water-abundant, prosperousMaharashtra. Paani Foundation trains people in the science of watershed management,and villagers then plan and execute various watershed management works in theirvillage with help from the government and NGOs.

 In the first two years, around 1,500 villagesparticipated in the Water Cup creating potential storage capacity of nearly10,000 crore litres of water. In this, the third year of the competition, over4,000 villages in 75 talukas and 24 districts of Maharashtra are participating.The top three prizes at the state level given to competing villages are Rs. 75lakhs, Rs. 50 lakhs and Rs. 40 lakhs respectively. The top village in each  taluka gets a prize of Rs. 10 lakhs. Thecompetition runs from 8th April to 22nd May 2018.The movement has steadilygrown, and over the past two years, thousands of people in cities expressed thedesire to contribute to this effort. To make it possible to volunteer andparticipate in different ways, Paani Foundation created the ‘Jalmitra’ - or‘Friend of Water’ initiative, which it launched on World Water Day - 22nd March2018. Anyone, anywhere in the world can be a Jalmitra by signing up on the linkjalmitra.paanifoundation.in.

 On the 1st of May, there will be a‘Mahashramdaan’ across Maharashtra in all 75 talukas of the Satyamev JayateWater Cup, where tens of thousands of citizens, both urban and rural will meetand work together for water abundance. Aamir Khan said he believes that thispartnership between rural and urban will not only help the villagers but thecity folk as well, to come closer to understanding our farmer friends, andknowing where our food, water and labour comes from. It will help to bridge thechasm between cities and villages, and go a long way towards creating a moreequitable and humane relationship between the two. He urged the students tojoin the fight against water scarcity, and help work towards a prosperous andhappy Maharashtra.

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