Sampatrao has actively participated in various social movements. Between 1980 and 1982 he was a part of the Mukti Sangharsh movement that aimed at getting fair wages for farm laborers. He came into limelight through Baliraja and Kranti Smritiwan projects. The times around 1983 were tough. The Khanapur tehsil in Sangli district was gripped by draught for 3 years. The Cotton mill workers in Mumbai were on strike and the economy was disturbed. This situation prompted Khanapur Tehsil Science Movement to invite late Dr. V. M. Dandekar (a noted water-expert) at Vita where a model for equal distribution of water and new cropping techniques was proposed. Thus the Baliraja Small Dam Movement that was to be build through people’s cooperation, gathered pace. Sampatrao dedicated himself to this and soon the connection between uncontrolled excavation of sand from the riverbeds and draughts surfaced.
Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra
In 1992, Sahyadri Nisarg Mitra started its work in Konkan, with the motto – Protect Nature with Foresight. It is a leading NGO in Maharashtra working in the fields of nature conservation, protection and research. Besides this, it spreads awareness, educates and acts based on scientifically drawn conclusions. Its crowning achievement was uncovering the smuggling racket that involved nests of the Indian Swallow found on the island Vengurla Rocks in Sindhudurg district, thus getting the bird notified in the Indian Wildlife (protected) List. Similarly, with relentless efforts, the institute succeeded in erecting a hatchery for sea turtles’ eggs thus protecting them from foxes, mongrels and above all – man.
Samnyayi Pani Hakka Parishad
Drawing on the ‘Sarvoday’ (development for all) concept of Mahatma Gandhi and inspired by the thoughts of senior water expert, the late Mr. Vilasrao Salunke, ‘Samnyayi Pani Hakka Parishad‘ and ‘Chikotra valley coop. water management and use’ were formed.
Anandrao Patil was the motivator behind this. Through this institute the principles like fiscal justice, accounting of the water distributed and right of equal water distribution are spread. This project of equal water distribution, running in Chikotra sub-valley (No. 74 Krishna), is the pioneer project in India.
Anil Welhal is a press photographer since 1978 and has clicked pictures for reputed newspapers and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry of Maharashtra. His photographs of the total eclipse (16th Feb 1980),taken without modern cameras or other equipment, were acclaimed internationally. Throughout his working years Welhal associated himself with many agitations and social movements, shouldering his share.
Thanks to him, we have access to a detailed record of numerous environmental awareness drives, agitations and campaigns of the last 33 years. Anil Welhal has contributed a lot towards all this and so the reward goes to him.
Nisarg Mitra Kolhapur
A few bird watchers came together on 08th April 1982 and founded Nisarg Mitra. The members in 1986, allowed their land in Amba in Shauwadi district to be used to create a forest-ecosystem consisting of local trees. This restored the soil’s fertility. This institute adopts a different school every year to run the concept of an ‘ecology club’ in it. Nisarg Mitra has also published a book, ‘Flora of Sagareshwar wildlife sanctuary’.