Published On: Mon, Mar 20th, 2017

IIT Roorkee has a new mission: Save Ganga | Hindustan Times

IIT Roorkee (IITR)’s annual fest Cognizance 2017 this year features a social campaign – Saving the Ganges. Indiscriminate use of the river is definitely bound to lead to disaster and this will be highlighted at the fest to be held on campus from March 24 to 26. The students are also getting innovative, exploring crowdfunding options to make bio-toilets on busy ‘ghats’ (points) of the river and designing drones to monitor water pollution

Named Aviral Ganga, the campaign highlights Ganga degradation. The students of Cognizance IIT Roorkee, living in the foothills of the Himalayas, acknowledge that the issue of exploitation of the river is “alarming” and have pledged to work for the rejuvenation of “our revered lifeline,” says Dr Sanjay Upadhyay, faculty coordinator, Cognizance 2017.

The initiative is being guided by UNESCO, UNEP, Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and South Asian Youth Environment Network (SAYEN).

Siddhant Aggarwal, co-founder of Veditam Ganga, being honoured by the chief guest Dr Arvind Kumar, chairperson, India Water Foundation, at the curtain raiser of Cognizance 2017. (Handout)

As part of the project, which was launched on March 6 with an environment conclave, Cognizance has dedicated a team of more than 70 students to conduct various events both on and off ground. The conclave featured a felicitation programme to recognise “unsung heroes” working to clean the Ganges – but those who had not received the recognition they deserved. They were: Vikas Chandra, founder of the Ganga Bachao Andolan 2000; Jaiprakash Dabral, founder of the Himalayan Chipko Foundation; Akash Sinha, founder of Omni Present Robot Tech; Ankit Agarwal, co-founder of Help Us Green; and Siddhant Aggarwal, co-founder of Veditam Ganga.

Money is being raised innovatively by Cognizance IIT Roorkee through crowdfunding in collaboration with Quash Products Pvt Ltd to set up bio-toilets along the busiest ghats of Ganga. An online photography competition – Waters of India – has invited entries on ‘clean and serene’ rivers.

About 50 volunteers from Cognizance and the NSS unit of the institute will start an awareness campaign at Har ki Paudi in Haridwar soon. A drone-making competition will also be organised to make drone models capable of monitoring pollution levels of water-bodies.

Apart from the river campaign, the main theme of Cognizance is Eureka 2.0, a three-day extravaganza with guest lectures, exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops, events, entrepreneurial summits and entertainment nights. The event will be inaugurated by the railway minister Suresh Prabhu. Others expected to attend are HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar; K K Paul, governor of Uttarakhand; Anil Kumar, ounder of Indian School of Business; Jamil Ahmad, deputy director UNEP USA, amongst others.

More than 5,000 students will compete in more than 200 events ranging from robotics to gaming.

Workshops will also be organised by technology giants like IBM, Microsoft and Samsung on topics ranging from augmented reality, digital marketing, stock market investing, Android app development and robotics.

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