With Maharashtra facing its gravest water crisis in decades, a group of environmentalists and water conservationists in Pune has decided to revive an age-old tradition to formulate innovative solutions.Two non-governmental organisations — Biospheres and Tellus — with the backing of the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Pune Forest Division, held the first ‘Paryavaran Chavadi’ — an assembly to discuss environmental problems at the Parvati Hills last Friday.
A ‘ Chavadi,’ a traditional facet of Maharashtra’s rural life, is a place where the village community gathers and public business is transacted.
The discussion focussed on tree conservation and steps to deal with the city’s acute water crisis. An eager audience, comprising authorities, environmentalists and activists, with well-known cartoonist Mangesh Tendulkar as chief guest, sat together and attempted to find solutions to Pune’s pressing environmental concerns.
“Paryavaran Chavdi is a community initiative which encourages participation from all walks of life. The common man discusses issues with experts, bureaucrats, and various other stakeholders in this environmental symposium. It is a unique democratic space dedicated to the resolution of the city’s environmental and water problems,” said Dr. Sachin Punekar, founder, Biospheres.
The watchword is implementation, says ecologist Lokesh Bapat, founder, Tellus. “This initiative aims at bringing the public and administrative spheres under one roof and increasing cohesiveness between the two to solve urgent environmental concerns,” Mr. Bapat said.