While fulfilling our various social responsibilities, the Sakal Media Group is happy to announce our intention to contribute Rs 20 crore to solve the water problems in Maharashtra. With this initiative, the Sakal Media Group will become one of the leading groups contributing to social causes in the country. While the Sakal Media Group is a leading media group, we wish to also make it a leading group contributing to social causes as well.
This is also probably the first example of a media group coming forward to take up such a large social responsibility. We feel it is extremely important to give back to society. Industrial groups across the country are contributing to social causes under the ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) umbrella. We would like to go beyond this and find solutions to long-term problems faced by the State. The Sakal Media Group is dreaming of a fully developed Maharashtra. This is a small step in achieving this dream.
Sakal is blessed with a eight-decade long history of pursuing ethical business while contributing to society. We have the goodwill of the people of Maharashtra backing us. This is why we have decided to take steps to solve the water problems of the State. We feel it is our duty to do so. Water is life. If we do not have enough supply of clean water, then how will we achieve development? This should be a priority. This is precisely why we are going to spend Rs 20 crore from our profits for this cause. However, we will not stop at this. The Sakal Media Group will do everything to study the root cause of the problem and find ways and means to solve it.
Welfare of the society is our parameter of success. The estimated cost for the all-round development of the state is Rs 30 lakh crore. Our contribution in solving the water problems is just the beginning of the implementation of measures to achieve this goal. Sakal has a strong connect with the people of the State and therefore we feel that this can well be achieved.
Sakal is the leading media group in the State thanks to the support of the people of Maharashtra. We are therefore not in competition with other media groups. The response to Sakal, our impact on society and various sectors is proof of the people’s support. It is the first choice of the people of the State.
Sakal has been committed to people’s welfare and has always taken the lead. Through our newspapers, Saam TV and other platforms, we are trying to empower women and motivate the youth to look after their families and society. While a majority of the media is engaged in conducting debates of politicians and discussing old problems, we are trying to make a difference by bringing all stakeholders on one platform for constructive work. We wish to bring about change by using our energy positively. We are starting this, by taking up the water issue first.
A lot has been said and written about Maharashtra’s water problems. Several years have been spent on schemes and reports. Though the State gets enough rain, this has not been conserved. Drought is an annual phenomenon. We have therefore decided take up the issue and looked for solutions after a systematic study. We have presented this study before the people and followed up with an implementation of the solutions.
In the summer of 2013, the Sakal Social Foundation and the Tanishka Women’s Dignity Forum took up the task of desilting ponds and other water bodies in villages across Maharashtra and implemented water conservation work. The Group also held a Water Conclave in Mumbai which brought experts, government officers, politicians and research organisations under one roof to discuss the issue. In this conference, we had promised to study the issue and present the solutions in front of the people, which we did on October 18, 2013. This was appreciated by the people. We are now taking a step forward by contributing Rs 20 crores for solving the water crisis.
A concrete plan for implementation will be prepared and we will ensure that the plan is executed on the ground level. We will bring all stakeholders together to make this happen. It is not possible to solve a 60-65 year-old problem in 4-5 days. Experts and the people’s representatives need to spend an intensive six weeks in a laboratory to find the right solutions. The people who will be invited to Sakal’s lab will need to give time to solve this crisis.
The lab or workshop of six weeks is a scientific method to resolve a problem as per the PEMANDU model used in Malaysia. The PEMANDU department, which works under the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office, has developed a scientific model to find solutions to problems posing hurdles in development. The experts from PEMANDU too will assist the efforts of Sakal. The Planning Commission of India has backed Sakal. Selected representatives of social organisations, government departments, institutes, researchers, scholars, innovators will be invited to these labs. Water for agriculture, drinking water and water for industry will be the key areas of focus. The work of the lab will start in Pune from today (February 4). Next month, similar labs will start in Mumbai. Sakal has got expert opinions before starting this work. People from all sections of society participated in the process through the Tanishka Women’s Dignity Forum. The views and expectations of all these people have been taken into account. Even political leaders have appreciated the need for such a systematic approach.
Public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal, revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, rural development minister Jayant Patil, agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe, irrigation minister Sunil Tatkare, school education minister of state Fouzia Khan, minister of state for rural development Uday Samant, chief secretary of Maharashtra J S Saharia, principal secretary for agriculture Sudhirkumar Goyal, principal secretary for water resources Malini Shankar, secretary of water resources Eknath Patil, deputy secretary for water conservation Sunil Chavan, deputy secretary for rural development Mallinath Kalshetty have all agreed to support the efforts of the Sakal Media Group.
Prominent political leaders of various political parties have also assured to participate in the process. In this effort to help the government to solve the water problem, Sakal will not only get an implementation blueprint ready, but will also ensure its effective implementation.
The views of people from all parts of the State will be considered and that is why it will be a people’s plan. The priorities will also be fixed in consultation with everyone. Naturally, the implementation will not depend either on the government or government officers. The future projects will require investment on a higher scale and this will be a good opportunity for industry and investors. There will be investment in all parts of the State and more employment opportunities will be created if a solution is found for the water problems of the State. Water plays an important role in the process of overall development. Therefore we are according top priority to water. The aim is to find a basic solution to the crisis with an emphasis on the implementation. For the basic work on water projects, a portion of this Rs 20 crores will be utilised.
We are starting with the issue of water. However, there is an attempt to prepare such a plan for many other fields which are essential for the progress of the State. Similar works will be undertaken in power, education, infrastructure and other sectors. This will require large amounts of funds. Experts from Malaysia and other countries will also participate in these projects. This will cost large amounts of money. Detailed research is needed to execute systematic projects. The Sakal Media Group is making a beginning by contributing Rs 20 crores. Other corporates and common people must also generously contribute to the State’s cause. This is an appeal to build tomorrow’s Maharashtra. As in the past, it is hoped, that people will respond positively this time too.
Contributing to society
The Economics Times recently published a list of companies with the highest corporate social responsibility (CSR) contributions. These companies included the following: Reliance Industries: Rs 285 crores, Indian Oil Corporation: Rs 88 crores, Adani Enterprises: Rs 58.8 crores, Jaiprakash Associates: Rs 57.9 crores, Mahindra and Mahindra: Rs 33.9 crores, Ramco Cements: Rs 32.8 crores, Jaypee Infratech: Rs 30.9 crores, Piramal Enterprises: Rs 29 crores, Sesa Goa: Rs 26 crores, GSFC: Rs 26.4 crores and now Sakal Media Group has made an announcement of contributing Rs 20 crores for solving Maharashtra’s water problems.
Sakal Media Group wants to become the highest contributor to social causes
Sakal has been highlighting the water issue for the last one year. In order to give a direction to the water policy of the State, Sakal has announced its contribution of Rs 20 crores. This money will be given from the net profits of the company. While many industries aim at business growth, it is our dream to become the highest contributor to social causes.
Sakal will contribute its share of Rs 20 crore to solve the water problems of the State. Starting with the water problem, Sakal plans to work systematically on issues related to other sectors as well. Even you can contribute to this effort.
Corporates and industrialists can take part in deciding the direction of the State’s development by sending their donations. Even common people can take up this responsibility. Besides, experts, government officers, social organisations, innovators, and other stakeholders can also work together. As announced earlier, some experts will be selected based on a criteria. These experts will be requested to give their time for the cause.
Those who wish to contribute can send their donations by cheques drawn in favour of ‘Sakal Social Foundation’ to account number 459104000021252 of the IDBI Bank, Laxmi Road, Pune branch.