Nagpur: More than half of the total villages in Maharashtra are drought hit on an average nine farmers are committing suicide daily; the 814 dams and reservoirs in the state have only 5% of water left; in Latur schools are calling early end of session for declaring holidays and reducing village population; in Parbhani section144 was instated in water dispensing spots; the draught effected families get rationed 20 liters of water per day, are these datums not disturbing already?
Everyday tankers full of water are being pressed into service to ensure cricket grounds in Maharashtra are in a position to host Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. But all the tankers in the state still can’t quench the parched throats. What could and should have be done is that though the water being used by them comes from local sources in urban areas, and can’t be sent to rural drought hit areas, the BCCI could have well afford to send several tankers of water to the region’s drought-hit districts. Should it not be similar to promoting afforestation to compensate deforestation!
BCCI contended that the water it uses for watering the grounds aren’t potable. This argument is untenable. The non-potable water can also be of great use at drought-affected areas.
What the petition states
* 20 liters of water being supplied to each house in Latur,
* 22 LAKH liters of water required to make a cricket pitch,
* 65 LAKH liters spent on maintaining pitches,
* 55,000 liters of water will be sent to Latur district within,
* Rs 1000 from IPL organizers for each litre of water used to make and maintain cricket pitches for the matches in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Pune.
Is weather the sole cause or we are?
The weather has gotten erratic, and there’s not a stint doubt about it. Natural calamities always get magnified when the administration is not proactive. We have not taken climate change seriously. The frequency and amplitude of disasters like cloudburst, cyclone, floods has considerably increased because of climate change. We obviously cannot control it but we can at least make provisions to adapt to it by proactivity and preparedness. The first principle of disaster management is to reduce the risk of the disaster.
According to United Nations, if you invest one lakh rupees in disaster management when things are normal, you end up saving 15 lakh rupees when the tragedy strikes. Sadly, the centre and state seems to be doing nothing in that direction. This is the third consecutive year of drought, each one more furious than the previous. Is this disaster preparedness?
Is everything more atrocious than the infamous drought of 1972?
Speculations are that this could be the worst drought in the history of the state. The cumulative impact of three consecutive droughts is devastating. Untimely rain, hailstorm and this season’s dry run has ensured farmers are completely destitute. The drought of 1972 seems tolerable when juxtaposed with ongoing. The drought in 1972 was not multidimensional whence ongoing is multifactorial and multidimensional. The the problem was more of local nature but this time it is due to everything the modern day has brought with it green house gases, global warming, weather transitions.
Dying and living for water!
There is a concept in water management called ‘sovereignty’. China is a water sovereign country. In fact, 22 countries depend on it. Even Turkey is independent. Bangladesh, on the other hand, is completely dependent for water.
Where India is a mixed bag where some states completely rely on water from other states where some are sovereign. Maharastra is surely not a sovereign water land.
If we talk of Marathwada in particular, it once had 30% forest land; where now is dwindled only to 1%. Similarly, the ground water reserve is declining at rapid pace more with bore wells as deep as 1500 feet to fetch water. We are in dark zone. We have already fiddled with the deep aquifer, which takes a thousand years to be refilled.
What about the generation that is yet to come? Do we not owe any responsibility towards them?
Let us vow to saving water and plant more trees for a greener and happier tomorrow!
Dr. Rajan Pandey
M.B.B.S., M.D. Radio-Diagnosis(Schol.),
Blogger& a Columnist.