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An inspiring people’s movement is restoring ponds, waterbodies in Puducherry 

The first pond rejuvenated by Alliance for Good Governance in 2020 near Marapalam Junction, Puducherry.

Leading a people’s movement, Puducherry’s organisation Alliance for Good Governance under which 12 civil society organisations have come together, have done yeoman service of reviving water bodies in the State.

Today their effort over a period of time is paying dividends as 47 ponds, wells and waterbodies from the existing 420 have been restored. This year they have revived seven ponds.

The AGG swung into action when it was found that most of the wells were empty while the ponds had become a dumping ground for garbage with encroachers taking over a major part of the land.

Among the toughest challenges for AGG was saving Vannan Kulam, one of the biggest ponds in the city, situated near Marapalam Junction. This was the first pond they revived. Following strenuous efforts stretching over three months, the pond was revived. Today it boasts of 50 lakh litres of water. A spring is used to pump water into the pond.

What was a dirty and garbage filled site is now brimming with lotus plants and lilies.

Other ponds at Kamban Nagar and Reddiarpalayam too have been restored after much effort. Now the local associations are taking care of its maintenance. These bodies have also been trained in rainwater harvesting and told to fill the ponds with that water.

Meanwhile, one of the members of AGG, the PondyCAN has mapped out the waterbodies in Puducherry and posted it on their official website for future reference.

Going beyond mere restoration, AGG also makes people aware about the importance of waterbodies. They hold events like the Water Festival to make them aware about wastage of water.

They have also started a One School One Pond programme by which each institution is assigned a pond in its neighbourhood. In this initiative the students are given the responsibility of cleaning and conserving it. At present, 230 schools, both Government and private, are part of OSOP.

The students are also informed about climate change and the importance of rainwater harvesting.

According to a spokesperson of AGG, the aim is to restore as many waterbodies as possible and create awareness. They also want these spots to become recreational centres so that people will have a stake in keeping them in good condition.