The Weekend Leader - Tides of Conservation

Bengaluru Lake Conservator Anand Malligavad Honoured as 'The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year’



Vol 15 | Issue 2

Bengaluru based Lake Restorer Anand Malligavad was awarded The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year Award at a glittering award ceremony held at the Chenna Reddy Auditorium, VIT, Vellore.

Dr. G Viswanathan, the Founder and Chancellor of VIT, presented the award to Anand, commending his efforts in rejuvenating lakes across the country. He noted that Anand's expertise was particularly needed in Tamil Nadu, especially in Vellore.

Dr G Viswanathan (fourth from left) presenting the award to Anand Malligavad. Others seen (from l to r) Dr. Jayabarathi T, Sankar Viswanathan, P C Vinoj Kumar, Dr. G V Selvam, Dr. VV Gopal (Photos: Bosco)

Anand, a 43-year-old mechanical engineer, has brought back to life nearly 80 lakes across India, covering a huge area of 500 acres. His biggest project is the 165-acre Samda Lake & Bird Sanctuary in Ayodhya.

He was chosen for 'The Weekend Leader – VIT Person of the Year (2022)' award by a jury that included Soumya Sambasivan, IPS (SP of Mandi District, Himachal Pradesh), Paul Basil (Co-Founder of Menterra Ventures and Founder of Villgro Innovations Foundation), and Dr. V V Gopal (Dean of VIT Business School, VIT, Vellore).

During his speech, Dr. Viswanathan highlighted that many areas in India are facing water shortages.

"There are floods and droughts happening. In cities like Chennai, people face drinking water problems and also struggle with floods. This situation is mainly due to our country's poor water management," he explained.

Dr. Viswanathan pointed out the necessity for experts in managing India's water crisis.

Anand commended VIT for maintaining a green campus

Recalling his time as a Member of Parliament, he mentioned Dr. K L Rao, who served as the minister for irrigation and water resources in Indira Gandhi's cabinet. Dr. Rao was so knowledgeable in his field that he could answer questions without needing to refer to any files.

Dr. Viswanathan pointed out that the lakes and tanks built by kings of the past could play a key role in flood management if they are properly maintained and desilted.

"For instance, in Tamil Nadu, while Thamirabarani River is flooding, rivers like Palar and Pennar remain dry. The idea of linking rivers is often discussed, but it remains unimplemented," he noted.

The Chancellor praised Anand for achieving so much at a young age and encouraged him to keep up his good work.

He also presented Anand with a book that displays the rich biodiversity of the VIT campus, including details about 150 bird species found there.

In his acceptance speech, Anand expressed gratitude to The Weekend Leader for the award and lauded VIT for its excellence in nurturing future leaders.

Dr. Viswanathan pointed out the need for experts in managing India's water crisis

“Every VIT graduate becomes a VIP. I have encountered many VIT alumni in various places, all standing out as VIPs. This is because VIT, founded by a VIP, is creating numerous VIPs,” he remarked, acknowledging Dr. Viswanathan's impact in higher education.

“I am immensely proud to be a VIT VIP today,” Anand said, receiving a warm response from the packed auditorium of VIT Business School’s faculty and students.

Anand shared his ambition of rejuvenating over 1000 lakes globally. “I dream of a blue and green planet where our children won't face issues with clean air, water, or sound sleep,” he said. He admired VIT's green campus, noting that it's about two degrees cooler than outside areas.

He specifically acknowledged Dr. G V Selvam, Vice President, for his significant contribution in promoting green spaces and constructing an artificial lake on the campus.

Anand stressed the importance of confidence and passion to make a meaningful contribution to society. “I don’t carry a visiting card; people can contact me directly on my mobile number, which hasn’t changed in 17 years,” he said.

Anand receiving the cheque from the Chancellor and Vice Presidents, Sankar Viswanathan and Dr. G V Selvam

While interacting with students, he mentioned that convincing others to believe in his dream and join his cause was the most challenging part of his mission.

He expressed his belief in natural methods of water purification, citing the benefits of sunlight and ultraviolet rays in destroying bacteria, and stated his disapproval of using chlorine for this purpose.

During his address, P C Vinoj Kumar, the Editor of The Weekend Leader, motivated the students of VIT Business School to explore social entrepreneurship.

“There are plenty of challenges in our surroundings that traditional businesses might not address,” he observed.

The audience listening in rapt attention to Anand's inspiring speech

He mentioned that tackling problems in waste management, health, and education could attract significant support from big companies through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds.

In addition to the trophy, Anand also received a citation and a cash prize of Rs 25,000, given by the Chancellor of VIT, along with Vice Presidents Mr. Sankar Viswanathan and Dr. G V Selvam. Also gracing the stage were VIT Registrar Dr. Jayabarathi T and Dr. VV Gopal, the Dean of VIT Business School. - TWL Bureau

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