District has 450 kalyanis that have a connection with religious places
Inspired by the success of the cleaning of tanks and ponds, the administration is planning to take up cleaning of kalyanis on the premises of temples and dargahs across the district.
The district has 450 kalyanis or wells or water bodies that have a connection with religious places. Most of them have fallen to disuse now, due to accumulation of garbage, mud sliding or drying up of water sources.
Some of them are intricately carved like the Pari Bavadi in Choukhandi. Some are three floor structures like the one in Chalkapur with changing rooms and washing areas, and others are connected to larger water bodies like the Paapnaash lake.
“There is an urgent need to recover these water sources by cleaning and digging them up,” Anurag Tewari, Deputy Commissioner, told The Hindu .
“This is the best time to do it as we have an unprecedented water scarcity this year. Once a few kalyanis are cleared of garbage, they will start giving water. That will boost our water recharging efforts and increase people’s involvement in governance,” he said. According to him, various departments would be involved in the task.
“We will take up cleaning of all the kalyanis in cities under watershed development schemes. Water bodies in rural areas will be taken up by the Department of Panchayat Raj and those with tourism potential will be cleaned under the ongoing scheme of beautifying water structures in tourist places,” the Deputy Commissioner said. He pointed out that 20 large tanks and ponds were cleaned up under watershed development scheme in five taluks. Some of them had impounded water after the recent rain, Mr. Tewari said.
Students to be involved
The Tourism Department has drawn up plans to involve the youth and students in restoration of water bodies. Legend has it that the Mailar Mallanna Temple in Khanapur forests had 108 kundas or open wells. “We will involve college students in identifying these bodies, mapping them and cleaning them up through shramadaan and other activities,” says Kishor Joshi, Assistant Director of Tourism. “We have begun communicating with NCC and NSS groups in colleges to organise treks in the Khanapur forests to identify the kundas,” he said.
Vinay Malage, coordinator of Team Yuva, a non-governmental organisation that monitored the cleaning of tanks, says public support to the efforts went up once the district administration allowed farmers to take home the fertile soil taken from the tank beds.
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