Mumbai, February 17: There was speculation that Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan is the new brand ambassador of the Maharashtra government. After his denial, there was a rumour today that Aamir will be the face of the Maharashtra’s Jalyukt Shivar scheme. At a press conference this evening at the Sahyadri Guest House at Malabar Hill, Mumbai, it was revealed that Aamir will indeed work towards lessening the water crisis in the state. But the Dangal actor will work towards water management through a separate initiative – the Paani Foundation. Aamir along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also launched the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup – a water management and decentralisation contest among the villages of Maharashtra. Also Read - Virat Kohli-Led Indian Team Best Ever? Sachin Tendulkar Opines Ahead of WTC Final vs New Zealand
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Aamir Khan has formed the Paani Foundation for the endeavour with his wife Kiran Rao. The actor’s ex-wife Reena Dutta is the chief operating officer (COO) of the foundation. Satyajit Bhatkal, the director of Aamir’s popular TV show Satyamev Jayate, is heading the initiative as the chief executive officer (CEO). The actor revealed that the entire Satyamev Jayate team will work on the initiative and report to him on a daily basis. Satyajit has already travelled to various rural areas of Maharashtra for Satyamev Jayate Water Cup. Also Read - Truck Overturns in Maharashtra's Osmanabad; People Loot Phones, TVs Worth Rs 70 Lakh
When it all began:
CM Devendra Fadnavis and Aamir Khan had a chance meeting at a cancer foundation fashion show, when Aamir expressed a desire to work in the direction of the water conservation. That is when the CM told him he could work with the government in continuation with the existing Jalyukt Shivar scheme. Aamir revealed that he met Fadnavis on Maharashtra Day (May 1) in 2015 and that is when they decided to finally come together for this effort. It may be recalled that Fadnavis had shared in May last year that Aamir “spent six hours with officials to understand the drought situation and what the government intended to do through Jalyukt Shivar (farm-level water conservation) scheme”. (See the news from May: Aamir Khan’s association would help state’s campaigns, says Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis) Aamir’s latest scheme is an extension of the government scheme.
The team of Paani Foundation:
Like we mentioned before, the team of Aamir Khan’s TV show Satyamev Jayate, including the director Satyajit Bhatkal, are a part of the scheme. While Aamir’s first wife Reena Dutta is the COO of the foundation and Satyajit the CEO, there are the biggest names from the world of entertainment, sport, medical and social field, business and industry whom Aamir has managed to rope in for the effort. These names are: Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani, Kumarmangalam Birla, Sachin Tendulkar, Atul Kulkarni, Deepak Parekh, Baba Kalyani, Amit Kalyani, Rajiv Bajaj, Popatrao Pawar, Dr Avinash Pol, Svati Chakravarty and Rajkumar Hirani. Some of these biggies were present at the press conference. Aamir revealed that other Marathi celebrities will also be roped in apart from Tendulkar and Kulkarni. Moreover, actor Akshay Kumar has already contributed an amount of Rs 50 lakh to the scheme, revealed Fadnavis. Kumar and actor Nana Patekar had already pledged their hard-earned money for drought relief in Maharashtra last year. The knowledge partner of Paani Foundation is WOTR – wotr.org. (ALSO READ: Aamir Khan all praise for Nana Patekar’s Marathi film Natsamrat)
Participation through mobile app for Donors:
Aamir Khan and Devendra Fadnavis have welcomed everyone, from celebrities to the common man, to participate in the scheme. The scheme will be promoted through television, print and the digital platform, including mobile applications. When India.com probed Aamir Khan on the mobile app for the Paani Foundation, Aamir revealed that through this app, one will be able to adopt a village or a scheme for water foundation. Donations will happen through this app and one can monitor the progress of the scheme from any part of the world. There will also be before-after pictures for the donors to see the progress.
Satyamev Jayate Water Cup:
The first Satyamev Jayate Water Cup will be held in three regions of Maharashtra, in three districts and one taluka each within. The regions are Koregaon Taluka in Satara district (Western Maharashtra); Warud Taluka in Amravati district (Vidarbha) and Ambajogai Taluka in Beed district (Marathwada). Within the talukas, gram panchayats will be asked to participate. Five members, ideally including two women,, will be sent from each for training for the water conservation contest.
Satyamev Jayate Water Cup Last Date, Training Dates and Prize Money:
The deadline for applications to the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup is March 7, 2016. The contest will be for 45 days between April 15 and May 31, 2016. A residential training programme will be arranged by Aamir’s foundation for 30 villagers at a time. The training dates are from March 15 to April 15, 2016. The Satyamev Jayate Water Cup comes with with a prize money of Rs 50 lakh (First Prize), Rs 30 lakh (Second Prize) and Rs 20 lakh (Third Prize). (ALSO READ: Open Letter to Aamir Khan on his casual remark on intolerance in India)
No brand ambassador:
CM Fadnavis revealed that Aamir told me he wasn’t interested in becoming brand ambassador of Maharashtra; he wanted to work on the field. Pankaja Munde, who was present, revealed that Aamir had done his own indepth study before agreeing to be part of the water management and conservation initiative. Aamir himself looked extremely focussed and serious about the Paani Foundation and urged everyone to be a part of it, aiming to spread it as a movement to the entire country. (Aamir Khan event photo: By Shweta Parande for India.com)