8. What efforts did you make to spread the news of this wonderful water storage project all over Gujarat?

8We believed that if we wanted to spread the news of this successful water storage project across Gujarat; if we wished the news of our wonderful success to reach the common man all over Gujarat, we must form an organization. It was with this objective that we formed Saurashtra Jaldhara Trust. Among the members of this Trust were a number of friends settled in Surat and involved in the diamond business. 37 persons were made Trustees of this Trust. Our primary objective was to motivate thousands of villagers to launch a similar water storage project in their own village and make their village a model town of water storage project like Khopala. To accomplish this mission, we started organizing a number of Taluka-wise meetings in which totally 10000 villagers settled in Surat were expected to remain present. What did we strive to do in such meetings? We put all efforts to awaken in their hearts feelings of love and concern for their native villages. We reminded them of their duties towards their own village. We also discussed the positive effects of the water storage project that Khopala was fortunate enough to experience and there by inspired them to launch a similar water storage project in their village too.

During the Diwali vacation of 1998 an 8 days’ march was planned from Bhimdad village of Gadhada taluka in Bhavnagar district to Bhadrod village. The objective of this march was to bring an awakening among the people about the importance of a water storage project. A large number of people from Surat joined in the march and local people also joined in it. This march got a tremendously enthusiastic response in each and every village. A large number of meetings were held and renowned persons belonging to different fields would remain present in those meetings. People from about 20 to 25 surrounding villages remained present in the night meetings. We would explain to them the current water situation.

In this way the movement proceeded. Committees were formed in each and every village. During the Diwali vacation of 1998 a large number of people from Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat visited Khopala in order to observe and understand the water storage model of Khopala. A large number of luxury buses, trucks and cars were seen parked on the border of the village. The enthusiastic people of Khopala not only warmly welcomed those visitors but also guided them to the water storage project. On the other hand more and more people joined in the march from Bhimdad to Bhadrod. Thousands of people continuously stayed in the march. Many ministers of Gujarat state government also attended a number of meetings held in the village.

            The tremendous response given to the march, committees being formed in each and every village and the commitments made by the village committees were given a wide media coverage. When our one month’s vacation came to an end meetings were organized in other villages. People expected and wished that I should remain present in each and every meeting held in all the villages. Meetings were held in innumerable villages; a number of village committees were formed in all these activities motivated us to carry out similar water storage activities with firm determination and unflinching courage.