27 February, 2021

The Man Who Caught Rain

In Vidarbha's parched Morshi tehsil, a retired IPS officer shows how to harvest rainwater

The Man Who Caught Rain
Many wonder what keeps 75-year-old Suryakant Jog so active. For the former dgp, retired life isn’t about relaxing in his armchair and complaining about the system.... As active as ever, the ex-cop has embarked upon a mission with a difference. He now helps people harvest rainwater to ensure that they can tide over the dry summer months. Jog’s focus is Vidarbha’s Morshi tehsil, his home turf, where the parched landscape is a grim reminder of how the mindless extraction of groundwater has pushed the water table to an alarming low. With inventive rainwater harvesting, Jog is now turning things around. "Our measures are simple, inexpensive and effective," he says. He is quite confident that the orchards in the area will bloom once again.

Jog, who joined the IPS in 1953, was never one to rest on his laurels. Less than four years after retiring in 1987, he started a residential school at Chikhaldara, Vidarbha’s only hill station. He was immediately confronted by the water crisis in the area. The locals had to buy water despite an annual rainfall of 75 inches. The water...

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