The eroded riverbank, random growth of shrubs and deep gorges on the bank due to sand mining- a sight that can cause heartfelt pain to any person who loves river and its pristine waters. The same feeling was experienced by people who witnessed the river Manganga at Mhswad. Tanishka members accepted the challenge of improving the condition of this river bank and their participation started changing the course of the river for better.
Prof. Kavita Mhetre and her group of Tanishkas have committed themselves to restoring the river Manganga. The river is witnessing its previous glory through a joint participation by the government and the public. The river is getting restored while a large project is also in pipeline for cleaning that river. The womenfolk of Mhaswad got inspired by the guidance they received through Tanishka forum. They realized that the village will develop only if the river Manganga develops. Therefore it was decided in a Tanishka forum meeting three years ago, that a public awareness drive will be created in the village, explaining the need for cleaning the river as well as the village. The Manganga river is the lifeline for Tauka Maan. To restore and protect her, an initiative was launched by Prof. Kavita Mhetre, the Tanishka group leader in Mhaswad. This intiative is in response to the appeal made by the well known water conservationist and expert, Dr. Rajendra Singh. The aforementioned resolution by Mhaswad Tanishkas was named as ‘the weekly hour for Manganga’. They volunteered for that. They also created public awareness in the vllagers by practically going from a dor to door.
If every citizen on the riverbank unites, the river will undoubtedly attain its former glory. This was the thought that propelled number of meetings in the Taluka area, under the guidance of Magsaysay awardee, water conservationist Dr. Rajendra Singh. This led to Tanishkas getting together with other women as well as members of ‘ mother Manganga restoration and conservation committee’. Women’s groups, youth clubs, Ganesh Mandal, Lions’ club, social organizations, medical organizations, lawyers’ forums, schools, colleges were contacted and an appeal for volunteering was made. There was a great response to this appeal. Tree plantation drive was carried out. Tanishkas would also meet every single evening on the riverbank, in order to protect their river Manganga.
The dried up Manganga is now overflowing. In a gesture of gratitude, Tanishka members offered ‘Oti’, a customary offering of grains, cloth and coconut to this river.
Mhaswad on the way to cleanliness:
This year saw Tanishkas resolving to make Mhaswad clean, along with their river cleaning initiative. They organized a walking cleanliness march through the village, where thouands of students as well as the municipality officials registered their presence. Tanishkas also approached the shanty settementsin order to create awareness about the importance of toilets. They also got many beneficiary appications filled. They organized lectures and talks by doctors across number of schools, so that the students become the medium for creating a general health awareness. An essay competition about cleanliness was organized for the students. As a result, the village is witnessing building of toilets. The common citizens are now particular about cleanliness.
The Manganga river is a lifeline for us. If we carry out development work with the river at its centre, it will lead to an increase in water sources and it will decrease the environmental decay. Tanishka group will be making efforts for this to happen.
– Prof. Kavita Mhetre, the group leader.
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