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10th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas starts in Jaipur

January 07, 2012 16:30 IST

The 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, a convention for NRIs, got off to a chaotic start on Saturday in Jaipur.

The annual event for overseas Indians, which is being held in Jaipur for the first time, witnessed tempers flaring with delegates upset over being frisked at every gate inside the convention venue. Some delegates even complained of policemen being rude and polite depending on their mood.

As the dust settled, the opening session of the convention -- a seminar on water management -- saw Union Minister Vayalar Ravi deploring the wastage of water.

"Looking at the present water situation in India, we need to run a special campaign to save water. It is inevitable in the prevailing situation. We waste a lot of water in daily routine which is a very unfortunate tendency," the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs said.

He suggested the delegates enter into partnership with village Panchayats for the campaign where the government could provide them with overseas development fund through its institutes.

He also suggested that entrepreneurs form groups and select some village to run the campaign.

"For Rajasthan, the major concern is to check the desert which is advancing and for this water has to play important role" he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said Rajasthan is a brand for tourism in India.

"We are working on water scarcity issue in Rajasthan and the Ministry is working on how to recycle and harvest water in hotels," he said, adding, that hotels should adopt local architecture for conservation of water.

He said that the government is working with the United Nations for sustainable tourism keeping water and environment issues in focus.

Focusing on importance of water, Rajasthan PHED minister Jitendra Singh said, "Water is costlier than oil and it is very important to conserve water for survival".

T M Vijay Bhaskar, joint secretary in the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), said the major problem is absence of piped drinking water and there is need for treatment technology in rural areas.

"There is need to identify alternate sources of safe drinking water; introducing water meters in rural areas which will cut wastage of water by 50 per cent," he added.

"The biggest concern is the growing imbalance in demand and supply of water. The government is not able to supply potable water to 31,000 habitations because of dry blocks," said Additional Chief Secretary, Rajasthan, Ram Lubhaya.

Additional Inputs: PTI
A Ganesh Nadar in Jaipur