Members of the student wing of Navi Mumbai’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) unit led an eight-day campaign to collect water for the drought-affected people in Lasur village near Aurangabad. After eight days of appealing to the residents of the satellite city to donate drinking water, the party workers managed to collect 50,000 litres of water. A number of up-market restaurants also came ahead to donate dozens of boxes of bottled water.
The campaign spurred after members saw news reports on television that showed the sorry state the villagers were surviving in. Sandeep Tukaram Galugade, president of MNS’s Navi Mumbai student wing said, “We were shocked to see that the villagers from Lasur would rush to the railway stations and collect water from the toilets of the trains that halted. We were appalled at the fact that this water was being used for drinking.”
After watching the news reports, the student members had a brainstorming session. Initially, they thought of sending tankers to the village but canned the idea when they realised that villagers might use water from rusty tankers for drinking. They then thought of sending water in bottles. “We got one lakh pamphlets printed to explain the cause, and members took up the charge of going to societies and restaurants in Navi Mumbai, asking people to generously donate water,” added Galugade.
The campaigning concluded on May 2. The water bottles were packaged and sent by trucks to Lasur village. Asked if the campaign was a success, an MNS member said, “We plan to give 10 litres of water to each villager. We are not sure for how many people the water would suffice but at least we have the satisfaction of having done something for the less fortunate.”