Ravi Shankar leads walkathon for water



Art of Living (AoL) founder and spiritual leader Sri Ravi Shankar Saturday led a walkathon here to tackle water woes of the city, which depends on the Cauvery river and nearby natural sources for its potable water needs.

The four-km 'walk for water' from M.G. Road in the central business district to Freedom Park in the city centre was hosted under the aegis of 'Volunteer for a better India' to create awareness on the Kumudavathi river rejuvenation project initiated by the AoL foundation in rural Bangalore.

"If Kumudavathi river is revived, Bangalore will be saved. Illegal sand mining should be stopped and the people should be made aware of it. Our teams of experts and scientists were able to revive springs in eight surrounding villages during the last two months," Ravi Shankar said on the occasion.

The three-year rejuvenation programme is aimed at reviving the endangered waterway that could meet about 60 percent of the city's drinking water needs.

"Besides constructing 78 boulder checks and five re-charge wells, our volunteers have cleaned and repaired 17 kalyanis (water bodies) since March," project manger Nagaraj Gangoli said at the end of the hour-long walkathon.

The second phase of the project will focus on increasing the green cover by planting about 250,000 saplings of local variety trees on government and private land covering 288 villages, with 800-1,000 saplings per village to prevent soil erosion and retain moisture in the river basin.

"The rejuvenation project has revived water tanks for cattle (gomalas), recharged pits and strengthened water bodies to improve the ecosystem for birds and animals," said a farmer who participated in the walkathon.

Veteran freedom fighter Doreswamy, renowned environmentalist Yellappa Reddy and Gandhinagar civic ward corporator T. Gopalakrishna joined hundreds with farmers and volunteers in the walkathon under a cloudy sky.

"Hundreds of volunteers from non-government organisations (NGOs) have been dedicating their time every Sunday to work in the catchment area to breathe life into the river. There is a dire need for more citizen participation to restore the river," Ravi Shankar added. - IANS