Mohan Dharia: Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration 2011

Mr. Mohan Dharia, , Former Union Minister has been chosen for the 26th Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for encouraging and maintaining spirit of national integration.

Mohan Dharia is best known for his NGO Vanrai, founded in 1982 and completed 29 years recently on July 10, 2011. The organisation has undertaken new initiatives in the fields of environment protection, rural empowerment and agriculture development to commemorate the anniversary. Vanrai was the first organization to attract the attention of the country towards the problem of wastelands. It invented and popularised “Vanrai bunds” built by using empty cement or fertiliser bags filled with soil or sand in nallahs or rivulets. Today, more than 3,00,000 Vanrai bunds have been erected by using this cost-effective technology.

Please note that Vanrai was also instrumental in carrying out the employment guarantee scheme in the field of farming. It also introduced the concept of reverse migration based on Gandhian philosophy ‘back to village’. The scheme was successfully implemented in Gawadewadi (Pune), Varandh (Raigad District) and Zari (Latur) villages of Maharashtra.

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