And Quiet Flow the Wa­ters Again

WA­TER SAVIOUR DI­LASA, MA­HA­RASH­TRA

India Today - - SAFAIGIRI - —Ki­ran D. Tare

We do an­gio­plasty on rivers,” says Mansoor Kho­rashi, of NGO Di­lasa (Re­lief ), which works for wa­ter con­ser­va­tion in the Vi­darbha and Marath­wada re­gions of Ma­ha­rash­tra. “The silt blocks the river’s wa­ter flow. We re­move the block­age.” Launched in 1994 by the late Mad­hukar Dhas, Di­lasa aims to pro­vide farm­ers with a sus­tain­able wa­ter re­source. They have de­vel­oped a river deep­en­ing tech­nique called doh (pond), which holds the wa­ter at a spe­cific place and helps in in­creas­ing the wa­ter level in nearby wells and borewells. It costs Rs 2 lakh to build a doh which is less than half the cost of a ce­ment struc­ture. Di­lasa built the first doh at Akoldev in Jalna district in 2012. The wa­ter level in 10 nearby vil­lages has in­creased, so much so they no longer de­pend on gov­ern­ment tankers for wa­ter. The doh tech­nique has also helped farm­ers in­crease pro­duc­tion of crops like onion, es­pe­cially in the dis­tricts of Ya­vat­mal, Wardha and Gad­chi­roli. Di­lasa has also de­vel­oped a di­ver­sion­based ir­ri­ga­tion tech­nique which has helped 1,200 vil­lages in 10 dis­tricts of Vi­darbha and Marath­wada in­crease the area un­der ir­ri­ga­tion. With a team of 200 vol­un­teers and 7,500 small groups, Di­lasa is a mother NGO for 12 other or­gan­i­sa­tions. “Our tar­get is 500 vil­lages free of tankers in the near fu­ture,” says Das’s widow, Vi­jaya Tul­shi­war.

MAN­DAR DEODHAR

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