By Rudranath Das
November 12th 2013 witnessed a very special event in the nation’s capital. An event that brought together some of India’s best leaders in the sectors of corporate, human resource, finance, banking and community based organizations. The objective of this meet was to honor some of the best practices in these fields acknowledging the super excellent contributions made towards nation building. During the event HG Gauranga Prabhu, Director ISKCON Govardhan Eco Village, was honoured with the SKOCH Platinum Renaissance Award 2013 from the Finance Minister of India Mr. P Chidambaram, Mr. Montek Singh Alhuwalia Chairman Planning Commission of India, Mr. U K Sinha Chairman Securities Exchange Board of India. The SKOCH awards, instituted by Mr. Sameer Kochhar, chairman SKOCH group, enjoys the distinction of being the highest independently instituted awards in India.
Govardhan Eco village was conferred upon this distinction for its efforts in pioneering a novel integrated water conservation and protection scheme, which could be a formidable way to tackle the water security issue in many under developed nations. India today has a rural population of over 800 million many of whom lack access to safe drinking water and hygienic sanitation. GEV took a scientific approach to this issue by studying the land topology and underground aquifers and created natural systems of water storage to collectthe run-off rain water. While thus conserving rain water and facilitating recharge of ground water, GEV also took care to avoid all sewage management techniques that could potentially contaminate the ground water by implementing a green sewage management concept called Soil BioTechnology. GEV today boasts of conserving over 10 million liters of rain water and recovering an equal amount of water from sewage, which is used in irrigating the fields in the ecovillage.
Starting with a humble beginning back in 2003, today GEV is a thriving farm community forging its way ahead in reaching out to the world with Srila Prabhupada’s message of “Simple living and High thinking”.Over the past decade GEV has extended its scope for activities into many fields including organic farming, cow protection, water conservation, green buildings, sewage management, alternative energies and rural outreach. The success stories in all these fields have been compiled into 9 technical case studies (www.ecovillage.org.in/case-studies) which have been very much appreciated in corporate sector in India.
Historically ISKCON has ventured into a wide range of outreach programs ranging from youths to villagers to urban populace, connecting withthem as per their needs and presenting the relevance of adopting a Krishna conscious culture. However one important section of the society which perhaps was not reached out to as much as desired is the corporate sector. One of the biggest issues discussed in the corporate sector today is ecology and solutions to the detrimental impact human kind is having on it. Addressing this very need GEV has formulated the “Symbiotic Development” concept, a concept centered around the principle of serving mother earth and not exploiting her for our greed. The Supreme Lord has incorporated a perfect system in the creation to meet all our needs. Symbiotic development aims to highlight this aspect and demonstrates how we can lead a life by minimizing the negative impact we are having on mother earth. Two of India’s biggest corporate consortium the Confederation of Indian Industries(CII) and the Federation of Indian chambers for commerce and Industry (FICCI), which represent over 200,000 Indian industries have applauded this model at GEV and the positive results its bearing. HG Gauranga Prabhu has presented talks at various events organized by CII and FICCI on a range of topics including waste management, life-cycle assessment, water conservation, green buildings etc. The recently awarded SKOCH award is a further confirmation of the efficacy of the timeless Vedic principles in addressing the modern day issues.
Coveted for their independence and exceptional research, the SKOCH awards are known for the most rigorous process of selection. Among the various nominations, those found to be complete in all respects are put through a secondary research by the Awards secretariat. GEV’s project was selected among the exceptional nominations and was invited to make a presentation to the Award’s jury in late october 2013. The jury evaluated each project on it merit and the top scoring projects were awarded the Order-of-Merit.After another round of evaluation the best among these distinguished projects were awarded 6 Platinum and 18 gold awards. HG Gauranga Prabhu bagged the top honors by winning the Platinum award for GEV in the event that saw felicitation of other industry leaders like Dr. Rajiv B Lall Chairman Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC), Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai Managing Director Asia Pacific HSBC Bank, Mr. Ashish Kumar Chauhan CEO Bombay Stock Exchange, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co Ltd, AISECT Education. An article was published in Bussiness Standard Newspaper, regarding the award, the elite participants, the process of evaluation and the winners in different category. The link for this news article is https://www.dropbox.com/s/c8tlj748ln8k35t/Bussiness%20Standard%20Page5.pdf )