Dainik Bhaskar saves water in thirsty Bhopal

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | October 22, 2008
The Hindi daily is teaching people to conserve water in Bhopal through on-ground activities

Bhopal & #BANNER1 & # is facing an acute water crisis with its reserves at an all-time low. The Madhya Pradesh (MP) government has already had to cut water supply for a day in the city, and more such cuts are expected. The Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar, is using the opportunity to initiate water conservation activities in Bhopal.

The daily's Jal Hai To Kal Hai activity took off on the day when the water supply was cut. The Dainik Bhaskar team enacted street plays and went about the city unshaven and unwashed to show how life would be without water.

The purpose of the activity was to educate people about water conservation. Speaking to afaqs!, Sanjeev Kotnala, vice-president and national head, marcom, Dainik Bhaskar, says, "We realised that people are becoming immune to the idea of water conservation. We wanted to jolt them into action."

Jal Satyagraha begins
Kotnala says his company has been involved in such efforts for eight years in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The activities include Jal Satyagraha, in which schoolchildren pledged to save water, and a school contact programme in which five comic characters were created to spread awareness among children.

In the current Bhopal activity, a Jal Sena group comprising children will carry out a door to door campaign to inform people about water conservation and encourage them to pledge to save water.

Dainik Bhaskar is also using radio (the company owns My FM) to support the effort. "Through radio, we can spread the message in a conversational tone. Apart from talking to people, we will have RJ mentions and invite people from all walks of life to talk about their initiatives," says Kotnala.

Sanjeev Kotnala
Kotnala adds that various activities have been planned for November. In one such activity, people who go to have their passport photographs shot will receive two photos. One will be the original and the other will be a digitally modified one that shows them with a beard and a moustache, indicating that shaving would be impossible without water!

Also on the cards is an initiative to ask schoolchildren to involve their parents in the effort by taking pledges to save water.

The activity took off on October 18, so Kotnala did not have numbers to share as yet, but he claims that last year's Jal Satyagraha involved 4,75,000 schoolchildren pledging support for the cause in MP.

The Jal Hai To Kal Hai activities have been organised by the company's division, DB Activation. Its creative agency is Meridian.