By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Dehradun, 31 May: Making a Difference by Being the Difference (MAD by BTD) started on the journey of environmental conservation and propagating civic awareness in June 2011. In the course of the next seven years, it has emerged as one of Dehradun’s most active NGOs making significant policy impact through its operations. It has convened over five hundred activities such as clean-up cum awareness programmes, transformation of dirty, poster and urine clad walls, distribution of soap among the needy to increase sanitation levels in such areas, etc. The most important campaign has been to impress upon the Government and citizens, alike, the need to rejuvenate the dying rivers of Doon valley. Other achievements include transforming over forty dirty walls in Dehradun City, pushing the Government to reverse a Cycle ban at Mussoorie’s Mall Road, working with other organisations to stall the proposed Smart City project of concretising the tea estates, etc.
As it completes 8 years, MAD is organising a six day festival – MADATHON, which starts on 2 June. It is the eighth edition of the annual festival organised to propagate awareness about the rejuvenation of dying rivers in Doon Valley. The festival includes a cross-country race, poster making, film making, art and photography exhibition, cultural events and cleanup drives. All the events are completely zero waste. No plastic bottles or glasses are being used to provide water to runners. Instead MAD is keeping 6 water filling stations throughout the route and is serving water only in steel glasses. To get adequate amount of steel glasses, MAD members have reached out to the Gurudwaras of the city, many of which have already given a positive response. MAD is also sourcing some other steel glasses from its own members and other doonites. No plastic flex is being printed for this event. Instead MAD is preparing a series of its banners on canvas. MAD members are painting messages of conservation on the canvas cloth on their own. Thirdly, in line with the ideals of pocket money funding of the group, MAD is not looking for caterers to cater to the refreshments need of about 10,000 participants. Members are preparing sandwiches for all participants on their own.
The cross-country race on 2 June is the feature event of the festival. The route for this year’s race is approximately 8 kilometres. The race will begin from Parade Ground and conclude there. The cash prizes for the winners of the Cross Country Race are Rs 8000, each, for both categories, boys and girls. Rs 5000 for the ones coming second, and Rs 3000 for those coming third. The event will start at 5 a.m.
On the second day of the Festival, a Heritage and Conservation Walk will be taken out. The Rispana walk will be immediately followed by a cleanup drive in a small patch of Rispana River. On the 3rd day, a gala Art Competition will be organised at the Doon International School, 3 p.m. onwards. The Art Competition does not have any age criteria and is open for one and all. There will also be a competition of Best out of Waste. On the 4th day, a Film Screening is being organised at a local hotel, wherein short films on the theme of ‘A town called Dehra’, submitted by participants will be screened. The event will start at 5 p.m. On Day 5, a Photography and Art Exhibition will be held.
On the penultimate day, MAD by BTD will host a Cultural Evening. The event will start at 5:30 p.m.