Ancient pools dating back to Krishna's times being restored

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Vrindavan, June 16 (UNI) Braj, the region famous for being the land of Lord Krishna, feted in many poetical works for its lush green groves and pools, lost all these with the passage of time so much so that finding even drinking water has become a problem.

Now the Braj foundation, formed in 2002 by journalist-turned conservationist Vineet Narain is engaged in an effort to provide clean drinking water by restoring 35 of the 5,500-year-old "Kunds" (ancient water tanks) scattered all over the region.

Braj, located within the golden triangle of Delhi-Jaipur-Agra, had lost its serene beauty due to uncontrolled tourist flow and neglect by the local people.

Out of 1000 kunds, many were turned into garbage dumps or encroached on. Some have remained totally dry for the past many years.

Moreover, out of the 137 groves surrounding these ancient water bodies, only three are left in their natural form. The foundation has taken up the daunting task of restoring all these pools with the help of the latest technology.

The 'Brahma-Kund'in Vrindavan has been the most successful story so far as it was revived after decades of negligence. This pool is believed to have been the favourite playground of Radha and Krishna.

According to Foundation CEO Vineet Narain, the foundation has been consistently reminding the authorities about the neglect of the region. Though the government and bureaucracy have been supportive, the complications involved in the clearance of projects have become a major hurdle.

"The Government has funds and is also supporting us but in the process, things get entangled and finally get nowhere," he regretted.

Mr Narain said no serious step has been taken by the central and state governments to tackle the problem of clean drinking water. The foundation, with a 13 member team, that includes several IIT and IIM graduates, in the past 3-4 years, managed to clear the garbage, restore ancient acquifiers that fed the pools or in some cases get channels built to supply water from the rivers to replenish the water supply.

The foundation had so far located, identified and documented 370 kunds, a task no official agency had taken up till now. Moreover, satellite imagery is being used extensively for the overall planning and mapping of kunds. The foundation is also extensively involved in conservation of heritage buildings in Braj.

"Lord Krishna was the founder of a nature friendly rural society.

He was the foremost environmentalist who believed in a perfect harmony between man and nature, and it also becomes our duty to preserve and revive this natural grandeur," Mr Narain added.

Central vigilance Commission(CVC) member Ranjana Kumar, who was with a team of journalists from Delhi visiting the kunds, said an attempt like this is an eye opener for the future generation, who are not much aware of the importance of such ancient water bodies and forests.

"It is a good lesson for the youth. It(the project) also involves local people which is all the more important for its success. The task is huge and makes people aware of the responsibilities they share with the environment," she added.

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