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Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004

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Pink City to host `Pani Utsava'

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR, MARCH 15. A unique `Pani Utsava' (water festival) will be organised at the Ambedkar Square near the Assembly here on March 19 for holding an interface dialogue between the Government, private sector, the civil society organisations and partner communities to evolve a consensus on the actions to address the water crisis in Rajasthan.

About 5,000 people, including farmers, representatives from civil society, international organisations, political parties, Government and corporate sector are expected to participate in the day-long event. The prime issues to be discussed on the occasion are the sustainable use of water, health aspect of drinking water, and revision and implementation of the State Water Policy.

The `Utsava' -- the first of its kind to be held in the State Capital -- will form part of the water week being organised across the State from March 16 to 22 with its last day coinciding with the World Water Day. The objective behind dedicating the week to the cause of water is to generate awareness about various aspects of the prevailing water crisis.

The principal organiser of the event, Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON), has called for changes in the policy governing the water accessibility at both the local and State levels. The Utsava is expected to strengthen the institutional network for access to water in the State.

The CECOEDECON secretary, Sharad Joshi, said here today that major policy reforms were needed without further delay in the State to ensure water availability for all citizens with special attention to those living at the marginalised geographical locations. Moreover, the social forms of discrimination on the basis of caste and gender in the water sector needed to be minimised and an equal access to water resources ensured.

The climatic conditions, hydrogeology, recurrent droughts and water use patterns in Rajasthan render the access to water resources a major issue. Mr. Joshi pointed out that the stress on water resources in the State had been caused mainly by population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns and uncontrolled use.

Other events to be organised during the week include dialogues with the corporate sector, legislature and executive for sustainable water management, poster preparation and essay writing competitions, workshop to be addressed by experts and the release of a book on the World Water Day.

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