About Vikrant Tongad
Vikrant Tongad is a self-trained environmental conservationist. He started showing inclination towards social work as early as his graduation days. He started working for conservation of environment, water and educating people about it in the year 2010 because the water table of Noida and Gr. Noida was depleting at a fast rate.
Seeing water wastage in the vicinity, he formed a team to bring awareness among villagers and took out the first water rally in year 2010 in his own village and nearby villages which created a lot of awareness among villagers about water conservation. After the rally, a lot of people, mainly youth, joined the campaign.
Initially, Vikrant Tongad worked only part time for this cause, but now he works as a full-time environmental conservationist which can also be called his passion.
He continues to work on the issue of water conservation incessantly. He has achieved commendable results.
Vikrant Tongad created an environmental organization called SAFE (Social Action for Forest and Environment) in the year 2013, which is working largely with local support without any major financial help.
During the water awareness campaign in year 2012-13, it was realized that the amount of water a builder wastes in Noida and Gr. Noida in just one day is equal to water used by people in one entire year. Builders in Noida and Gr. Noida pumped out ground water to build basement, which they threw in drains.
This practice was leading to depletion of ground water at a fast rate. Vikrant approached many govt. departments to stop wastage of groundwater but no proper step was taken. But Vikrant continued his endeavour.
Finally, his efforts bore result and groundwater extraction was banned in the year 2013 for builders only. Millions of liters of groundwater were saved that was wasted daily. Now, around 500 under-construction real estate sites are using treated water of Sewage treatment plant (STP).
STP Water is being purchased from the local authority. The authority has also received revenue of crores. Now this campaign has spread to entire Delhi-NCR. Due to falling levels of groundwater in NCR, water awareness programmes called Jal Chaupals have been launched. Until now more than 100 such Jal Chaupals (public gatherings on sustainable water usage) have been conducted in villages, schools in Delhi-NCR.
Vikrant Tongad has created a water documentary with the local administration which is being run in all the cinemas in Noida-Gr. Noida for awareness purpose.
Vikrant tongad has been made member of the “BHUJAL SENA” which works for water conservation in the district of Gautam Buddh Nagar, by administration in year of 2017.
Similarly, with the efforts of Vikrant, 30 illegal bottling plants of water in Noida were closed in 2013. Vikrant is also working for establishment of Ground Water Management Act in every state, a demand which has been put up by him to the Central Government. He is working relentlessly on the subject. He has taken up his work on water conservation to other states too.
Vikrant has worked to free Ganga from pollution as well. He, along with other activists, brought to light that untreated water was being put into the Ganges by Simbhavali Sugar Mill at Hapur (UP) which is an ecologically-sensitive area of Ganga and habitat of the Dolphin. Eventually, Sugar Mill was found guilty, and they had to stop polluting Ganga and were fined 5 cr. in the year 2014.
After Simbhavali issue, With the supports of others Vikrant focused on beach camps/river rafting on the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh. He filed the case in the NGT, after which the illegal camp was banned. Not only Ganga River, but also the surrounding society and ashrams in Rishikesh have benefited greatly from ban of illegal beach camps.
In the year 2012-13, he started his work on air pollution. Crop/agriculture residue burning in neighbouring states of Delhi is one of the major causes of air pollution, which also affects soil quality.
Vikrant focused on Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan for this issue. Thus, because of Vikrant’s effort, a ban on crop burning in these four states was introduced in the year 2015. Millions of farmers have got subsidies to manage the crop residue and awareness generated has reduced air pollution and increased crop production.
He is also working for “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. He has built a total of 7 toilets in a village with the help of a private company and he is also working for open defecation free District (GB Nagar).
SAFE has also planted several thousand trees with the help of people in their area. The NGO also helps prevent cutting of existing trees. If someone cuts a tree illegally, then a complaint in the Forest Department is registered and appropriate action is taken. Vikrant is also working for protecting many wetlands like Surajpur, Dadri, Dhanouri, Hasapur.
Vikrant Tongad has filed around 20 litigations for environment protection, water conservation, and wetland protection in Honorable National Green Tribunal (NGT), Honorable Supreme Court, and Honorable High Courts with the support of other nature lovers. He has had great success in this area.
Vikrant Tongad is working on various issues of environment, mining, health and agriculture in northern India and also at national level. Environment and society has benefited manifold because of his work. Most importantly, he has inspired others by his works who have joined him in his campaign and are working for environment at their own levels.
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