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 Climate Change

Environment
Published on: Aug. 29, 2020, 5:17 p.m.
Crusade to bring water to one tehsil snowballs into a campaign
  • Plant more trees to save the world

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

India, says Mayank Gandhi, can wait no more. This is the man who is credited by the villagers of Parli for taking one of India’s driest areas on the path to self-sufficiency in water. His ‘Global Parli’ project, centred in Beed district in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, has now extended its model to ‘Transform India’ across hundreds of villages in the suicide-prone region.

The main objectives Gandhi lists are a 20-fold increase in farmer income, planting 3.2 million fruit trees, increasing the water table from 400 feet (122 metres) to 70 feet (just over 21 metres) and completing ‘360-degree village development’. Ambitious, but so was Mission Global Parli when he launched it in 2016 as a one-man initiative. Local and corporate support has since worked wonders.

“We have around 700 volunteers now to help and support our nation-building solution,” says Gandhi, who was a corporate executive-turned-politician, but quit the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of which he was a co-founder. In a WhatsApp message which he asks people across sectors and geographies to ‘forward to all your groups’ he points out that this will reach out to lakhs.

Marathwada has been blessed with excellent rains this year; and water management has changed the lives of the people, he says. Taking full advantage of social media, he launched the new movement at noon on 15 August this year, followed by a live Instagram discussion with film actors Richa Chhada and Ali Fazal, who have 2.8 million followers between them. “Please also share my FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn messages,” he exhorted his supporters, calling for a one-hour ‘Twitter storm’ that evening. “Let’s all tweet about the steps which can transform our nation from the roots to give our farmers freedom from poverty, misery and distress!”

No, it needs more than just multiplying incomes. It needs a deeply thought and complete, holistic Nation Building model that we have created in last 5 years. Now, it is time to make this Transform India model viral.

Says Mahendra K. Patel, who works on a trial farm near Ahmedabad: “We are working with confidence in success and sustainability, because I have visited Parli on Mayankbhai’s invitation and seen the work on the ground as well as the results in deferent areas over a 200-km stretch. Seeing what he has achieved in four years has given me so much confidence that I am investing Rs50-70 lakh from my from my bread-and-butter business funds on this demo farm.”

In spite of Covid-19, Gandhi’s campaign to register for plants and deliver them to farmers has crossed 1.2 million in Marathwada and 110,000 in Madhya Pradesh. Mass plantation of trees is not only the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to heal the world, planting of fruit trees unfolds life from seeds and nurtures other lives – micro-organisms, insects, birds, animals and humans, he says.

"Our team’s way is a bit different – we work with determination, not hope,” Gandhi adds.


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