Gujarat Governor Kamla has called for concerted efforts by the Government and the public to conserve and harness water. Water is going to be a critical area in future and there is a need to apply both the time tested techniques of the country side along with modern innovations in its conservation and management, she said.

Dr. Kamla was speaking as the chief guest at the Fourth Dalmia Environment Award function at Chirawa town in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. Former Union Minister and Jhunjhunu MP Sisram Ola, Magsaysay Award winner “Waterman” Rajendra Singh and Raghuhari Dalmia, patron of the award committee, also spoke on the occasion. The Dalmia Environment Awards have been instituted by the Ramkrishna Jaidayal Dalmia Seva Sansthan headquartered at Chirawa, the home town of the Dalmia family.

Dalmia Award for progressive farmer

Krishna Kumar Jakhar, a progressive farmer who explains himself as a “spiritual farmer”, from Hetrampura Dhaba in Sangaria tehsil of Hanumangarh district received the award for 2010 which carries a cash component of Rs.1 lakh. Mr. Jakhar, who practises organic farming and makes minimal use of water is also known for his ‘zero budget” farming -- which does not require inputs other than what comes naturally -- but the yields could be as good or even better than that of those who make use of fertilizer and pesticides.

The Divisional awards -- of Rs.11,000 each -- were received by Hiralal Sharma of Sahayog Sansthan -- working in Bhindar and Pratapgarh blocks of Udaipur district -- Gyan Singh Nathawat of the Watershed Consultation Organisation(WASCO) of Jalore, Ganpat Lal Dogiwal and Jai Singh Dhankar of Sikar and Ummed Singh Shekhawat of Bikaner.

They have all been chosen by a jury headed by M.S. Rathore, Director, and Centre for Environment and Development Studies, for their pioneering work and innovative action in socio-economic development of backward regions, water harnessing, dry land farming and horticulture in the semi-arid region.

Referring to the age-old traditions of water conservation in the Shekhawati region with the Seths and philanthropists initiating building of wells, bawris (step wells) and lakes for common use, Dr. Kamla said with the threats of climate change and serious water shortage looming large the Governments, citizens and business houses should work in tandem to protect environment.Mr. Ola, who appreciated the efforts of the Dalmia family, said the contribution of big business families hailing from the region had immensely helped Jhunjhunu to be the most literate district in Rajasthan where the female literacy is also the highest in the State. The main speaker, Rajendra Singh, said that instead of being a mindless exploiter of earth's resources every citizen should turn a “panidaar” (person who enhances water availability). “Water is God's gift. Man cannot create it. Save it for the future generations,” he exhorted.