Students at IIT-Roorkee have taken to crowdfunding to raise Rs. 50 lakh for building bio-toilets on the ghats of river Ganga and design drones to monitor water pollution as their contribution to “Clean Ganga” campaign. Named ‘Aviral Ganga’, the campaign by IIT-Roorkee students highlights degradation of the holy river and an alarming level of its exploitation despite the Centre’s innumerable efforts to clean it.
An announcement about the initiative, which is guided by the UNESCO, the UNEP, the Centre for Environment Education and the South Asian Youth Environment Network (SAYEN), was made at the inaugural day of IIT-Roorkee’s annual fest “Cognisance” on Saturday.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who was scheduled to inaugurate the three-day conference, could not attend the programme due to other commitments. But his video message was played at the event.
“A team of 70 students from IIT Roorkee, guided by the faculty members, will be holding a series of event throughout the year to raise funds to the tune of Rs. 50 lakh for the cause. It will then be handed over to the partnering NGO Shuddhi which will take up the further task of building bio-toilets,” said Anant Pratap Singh, Convenor for the campaign.
“During the festival a drone making competition will also be organised to make drones capable of monitoring pollution level of rivers and other water bodies,” he said, adding that the faculty members are likely to raise around Rs. 10 lakh for the campaign.
IIT-Roorkee Director A K Chaturvedi said that the students have taken up the initiative besides their contributions to policy making and development of workable models to cater to problem areas.
As a precursor to the campaign, IIT had last week felicitated six “unsung heroes” who have done considerable work for the “Clean Ganga” campaign.
They included Vikas Chandra, founder of the Ganga Bachao Andolan 2000; Jaiprakash Dabral, founder of the Himalayan Chipko Foundation; Akash Sinha, founder of Omni Present Robot Tech; Ankit Agarwal, co-founder of Help Us Green; and Siddhant Aggarwal, co-founder of Veditam Ganga.
In his video message, Prabhu sought proposals for similar projects to help the Railway Ministry in its functioning.
“At the Railways, we have taken certain initiatives to enhance the technology, transparency and do the transactions with minimum hassles for the customers.
“I have asked IIT people to submit any proposals for modernising railways and increasing consumer satisfaction. If found feasible, we will develop them”, he said.
Apart from the river campaign, the three day conference with guest lectures, exhibitions, panel discussions, events, workshops, entrepreneurial summits and entertainment nights.
Among those expected to attend the event are Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar; Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul and Jamil Ahmad, Deputy Director UNEP USA, among others.