Keeping in view, the urgency of enlightening the community and making efforts at the grassroots level in order to meet the growing need of water demand, Raman Kant initiated his work towards water conservation in the year 2004. As such, he formed NEER Foundation with an objective of creating awareness on various issues related to water involving the community in finding various solutions for sustainable future. With a contribution of about 120 articles published in the Hindi national dailies, magazines etc., Raman Kant has a wide range of experience with a deep understanding of various issues concerning water across the country.
As the Founder Director of NEER Foundation, it is the belief of Raman Kant that environment problems can only be addressed adequately if local people are involved in decision-making at all levels and have control over resources. Lead by him, NEER Foundation acts as an independent, not-for-profit making voluntary organization working towards environment protection and management by means of water conservation and rural development. NEER Foundation is involved in research, campaigns, grassroots level practical work and advocacy on issues related to environment and human rights.
As a public interest organization, NEER Foundation has focused on strengthening the community through their active participation to achieve sustainable development. NEER Foundation has the distinction of bringing out the first detailed census of natural water resources structures entitled “Talabo ki Stithi”. The 35 pages study report has earned wide appreciation by the National and international organizations like CEEW and others. As such, it will be highly beneficial for the country. NEER Foundation has also constructed a number of natural water resources structures like ponds (tanks), JOHADs and wells in the villages in Meerut district with the active participation of the community. The unique work for water conservation undertaken by the community by offering shramdaan (manual labor) has earned national popularity. The organization for the first time since independence gave a call to the community to clean the 5000 years old historical Gandhari Talaab in Parikshatgarh, some 20 kilometers from Meerut. It was at the behest of Raman Kant that the Students came forward to offer shramdaan along with the farming community and traders of Parikshatgarh so as to clean the pond by de-silting it.
Raman Kant also has the distinction of establishing the country’s first Rural Rain Centre in village Poothi at Meerut with the active support of the local leaders. The Rural Rain Centre is a water literacy spreading center with an exhibition which portrays basic issues concerning water with the support of colorful panels. It also has a small library with books, cassettes, CDs and video films on water. School children, farmers, engineers and various civil society groups pay a visit to the Rural Rain Centre regularly. The Rural Rain Centre has a live model of Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting so that the community gets sensitized on the important issue of water conservation. The Rural Rain Centre has been visited by the former Union Minister and Member of Planning Commission Mr. Sompal Shastri, Peasants’ leader Ch. Rakesh Tikait and many scientists. Meerut Development Authority (MDA), UP Avas evam Vikas Parishad, Minor Irrigation Department, Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), 40 Trainees of Indian Forest Service batch 2014-15, State Ground Water Board (SGWB) of UP, UP Jal Nigam and other departments have been sending their engineers to visit the Rural Rain Centre which is the first of its kind in Northern India. Raman Kant and his associates have taken the torch of water conservation to more than one lakh people in the urban and rural areas of western U.P. It is just because of his efforts that the district plan of Meerut enhanced their water conservation priority particularly in rural areas based on the census of NEER Foundation. According to Raman Kant ”I would like to see the day when people at least in my region have access to pure drinking water”. He further adds that “We would strive to bring back the lost image of water scarce and contaminated drinking water region to water sufficient and pure drinking water area”.
Raman Kant in the year 2006 took the pledge to clean the highly polluted Kali River (East), Hindon River,Kali River (West) and Krishna Rivers. As such, a massive signature campaign supported by PADYATRAS and awareness programs, the Kali River issue was undertaken under his leadership. As a mission of his organization, Raman Kant has undertaken the responsibility of motivating the community to adopt Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) in urban areas. He was also instrumental in establishing an RWH model at the near about 200 buildings in Meerut and BDS public school Meerut in western U.P. Raman Kant has delivered power point presentations and has addressed more than 100 meetings on the important issue of water conservation in the different parts of the country and out of the country like Turkey, UAE, Thailand and Nepal.
Since the whole of Western U.P witnesses excessive use of chemicals and pesticides. Hence, there is a great loss to the fertility of agricultural soil here. Worried about the threat to the agriculture in Western U.P, Raman Kant decided to initiate organic farming along with the promotion of traditional ways of farming. He is the pioneer of promoting organic farming in the area covering 50 villages in Meerut district and much more in the adjoining districts of Bijnor, Baghpat, and others. Farmers have been taught about the various methods of preparing organic manures, bio-pesticides, and other biotechnologies which serve as inputs in organic farming. The former union minister Sompal Shastri had visited Meerut along with his technical advisor to see the grassroots level work which Raman Kant is promoting in the area. He appreciated the work being done by him. Raman Kant has participated in a number of National and International conferences on organic farming and has delivered presentations on the subject. He is among the few environmentalists in the country who has brought the threat of POPs to the surface by organizing meetings and conducting research in the community.
As a visionary, Raman Kant also would like to see that Uttar Pradesh formulates its own River policy. After participating in a number of meetings with the Ministers and Government Officials related to water he has also contacted a number of experts to extend their supports towards the formulation of the River policy in U.P. Known across the country as a JAL DOOT (water warrior) Raman Kant has inducted 500 JAL DOOTS and activists who have volunteered themselves towards the efforts of water conservation. He through his organization regularly brings out a bimonthly newsletter on water entitled PARYAVARN SANDESH which is popularly known throughout the country. Raman Kant is a well-known name in the field of water conservation and wants to serve the nation by his activism at the grassroots level efforts so that the water problems are solved at the local level.
National and International Exposure
- Appointed as the National Coordinator of World Water Monitoring Day Programme in India from 2011 by International Water Association and World Environment Federation.
- Invited by the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul (Turkey) to deliver a presentation for the Water Experts on March 2009.
- Invited by the Thammasat University (7th South East Asia Water Symposium) in Bangkok (Thailand) to address the students participating from different countries, through a presentation, on October 2009.
- Invited by the Nepal Engineering College, Kathmandu (Nepal) to deliver a presentation for the Water Experts on May 2010.
- Invited by the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (India) to deliver a presentation for the Water Experts on June 5, 2010.
- Invited by the India International Centre, New Delhi (India) to deliver a presentation for the Kali River Presentation.
- Invited by Jila Panchayat, Meerut to deliver a presentation on Kali River Pollution and efforts of the foundation to save the river on March 24, 2012.
- Invited by Biotechnology Department, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Agriculture University, Meerut, to deliver a lecture on rural water technology, on March 21, 2015.
- Invited by District Administration of Saharanpur to deliver a lecture on Rain Water Harvesting technology, on May 14, 2015.
- Invited by the Hapur-Pilkhua Development Authority to deliver a presentation for the Water Experts on July 21, 2015.
- Invited by the Indian Industries Association to deliver a presentation for the Water Experts on July 22, 2015.
- Invited by the International Conference on Education as a Driver for Sustainable Development Goals to deliver a presentation for the water expert on January 11-13, 2016.
- The NEER Foundation has won the “Oasis Award” for its participation in World Water Monitoring Day at the hand pump near Tajmahal on August 22, 2010. The Oasis Award is awarded by WEF and IWA to the group that conducted water quality monitoring in the highest air temperature.
- The organization has been awarded the prestigious “World Water Champion Award 2009, 2010 and 2011” by WEF and IWA, for its outstanding contribution in the sector of Water.
- The Meerut-based NEER Foundation has been conferred upon with the prestigious “Water Digest Award 2010-11 and 2011-12. It has been selected as the Best Water NGO, for the Water Education category amongst the organizations working on the issue of water conservation across the states.
- The organization has been awarded the prestigious “International Green Apple Award-2012” by The Green Organisation, UK.
- The organization has been awarded the prestigious “National Status Award for Intellectual Development-2012” by The Republic of Seychelles.
- The organization has been awarded the prestigious “International Green Hero Award-2012” by The Green Organisation, UK.
- “International Green Hero Award 2013” for its outstanding contribution towards environment conservation programs by the UK-based The Green Organization.
- “National Environment Jewel Award 2013” by Vishwamitr organization, New Delhi.
- “Vardan Karamveer Chakra Silver 2014” for its contribution towards environment conservation and youth role.
- “Best Water Award 2016” by Ground Water Department, Uttar Pradesh Government.
- “Vardan Karamveer Chakra Gold 2016” for its contribution towards environment conservation and youth role.
- Krishi Kumbh Award 2016 for its contribution towards the environment and water conservation by Indian Institute of Farming System Research (ICAR), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, GoI.
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