Maha HR professional"s passion to conserve stepwells earns praise from PM Modi

  • | Sunday | 27th March, 2022

Aurangabad, Mar 27 (PTI) A Mumbai-based HR professional, whose efforts towards conserving the stepwells of Maharashtra found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi"s monthly "Mann Ki Baat" programme on Sunday, said he has mapped and documented 1,650 stepwells in the state by travelling 14,000 kms for this cause. Rohan Kale, 38, who works in a private company, said he developed a passion for stepwells during his visits to Gujarat, and began his mission to conserve such traditional structures back home in Maharashtra. Now, he not only aims to bring back the glory of these water bodies, but also wants to turn them into places which can cater to the drinking water requirements of the regions, where they are located. Stepwells are wells or ponds in which the water is reached by descending a set of steps to the water level. These structures may be multi-storeyed with significant ornamental and architectural features. During his "Mann Ki Baat" radio programme, PM Modi said, "Rohan Kale, a youth from Maharashtra is an HR professional. He is running a movement to save the step wells. Many of them are some centuries old and are part of our culture." Talking to PTI about the idea behind his initiative "Maharashtra Barav Mohim" (Maharashtra Stepwell Campaign), Kale said, "While working in the HR department of a pharma company in Mumbai, I used to travel to Gujarat often for office-related work. While exploring the forts in Sahyadri mountain ranges, I fell in love with the stepwells in Gujarat in 2017." "Therafter, I started exploring the stepwells in Maharashtra and found that although they are huge in number, the condition of many of them is bad. I decided to work for their conservation. I tried to make it a public movement and on the occasion of Mahashivratri this year, 160 stepwells across the state were cleaned and decorated," he said. Kale said he has travelled 14,000 kms on his motorcycle across nearly 20 districts of Maharashtra by spending around Rs 1.5 lakh from his own pocket so far. "I have succeeded in mapping 1,650 stepwells in Maharashtra"s different regions - Konkan, western Maharashtra, north Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha so far," he said. Kale said he also took a break of one-and-a-half years on the professional front, during which he continued the task of mapping the stepwells in the state. Under this project, people are taking efforts to clean the stepwells located in their respective area, he said, adding that the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) also extended its support to the movement by writing about it on its website and uploading the locations of 1,650 stepwells on it. The Stepwell Campaign also reached the architecture colleges in different districts of the state and Kale said he has requested these educational institutes to undertake architectural documentation work of the stepwells. "It will be soon bvegin in Nashik," he added. "The aim of this movement is not only to clean the stepwells, but to make these structures a major source of quenching the need of water in their respective areas. We have demanded guidelines of scientific conservation of these stepwells to the state archeology department also," Kale said. PTI AW NP NP

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