Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said athletes have the platform and reach to promote social causes as he spoke during Mission Paani Waterthon on Tuesday. Mission Paani is an initiative by News18 and Harpic India, under which an 8-hour telethon was held hosted by Akshay Kumar, the ambassador of the campaign. Rijiju was part of the programme that featured a host of eminent personalities from different walks of life take the Jal Pratigya, a water oath.
Along with Rijiju, the waterthon had celebrities like AR Rahman, Mallika Sarabhai, Prasoon Joshi, Sadhguru, HH Chidanand Swami, Rajkumar Rao, Mandira Bedi, Neha Dhupia, Dia Mirza, Gul Panag, Bhumi Pednekar, Vishwanathan Anand and Smriti Mandhana among others. Union ministers and political dignitaries, such as Gajendra Singh Shekhawat - Minister of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, RD & GR, Dr. Harsh Vardhan - Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Tech, Earth Sciences, Govt of India, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' - Minister, Human Resource Development, Government of India, Smriti Irani - Union Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development, Nitin Gadkari - Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Government of India were also a part of the programme.
During the programme, Rijiju called on the athletes to invest in social work along with winning in their respective sports. "Youth and athletes can act as influencers. In my state, I encourage sportspersons to participate in social work along with focusing on winning medals," he said.
After Rijiju, Chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand also joined the mission and said the country has to respond to the crisis at hand.
"We have to respond to India's water crisis now. It's already happening. We can't wait for things to completely fall apart," he said.
Be a part of the Harpic – News18 Mission Paani campaign, take the Pledge to Save Water and catch all updates to the Waterthon here.