We are sitting on a volcano. Though we don’t know the date and day it would blast, we are aware of the fact that it may blast in the near future. According to the study of Center For Science And Environment, since 1997 till recent times, the probable drought victim regions have increased by 57%. Misfortune is that, all these are not the outcomes of lack of rain.
An English daily, reported the previous year stating that 33 crore people i.e. 25% of total Indian population, have become the victims of drought. 21 out of 36 districts of Maharashtra alone were drought victims. 50 out of 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh suffered from famine. 93% districts of Chattisgarh were identified as drought victims. Do you know what is the most scariest thing? None of the famines were natural. These were the outcomes of bad deeds of human beings.
‘Jala Brahma’; Rajendra Singh who had visited Maharashtra the previous year, had observed the causes of famines. He had fury on those politicians who had established sugar industries at the probable drought regions and forced peasants to cultivate sugar cane. Few politicians fled the most invaluable canal water to their farms. The politicians neither have time nor the future vision to think that sugar cane fields need large amount of water, and with the passing time the water sources would get exhausted. The norms of ground water conservation is found only in files. 4500 tankers are Indulged in supplying water.
Karnataka’s tale too is not different. We have been facing drought since four consecutive years. The water level at major dams have reached bottom. We have so extensively made use of and spoilt the ground water that there is no trace of water even at 1500 feet depth at Kolar. Let alone agriculture, there is scarcity of drinking water at many places. According to an estimate, three fourth of ground water in India has already exhausted. Foreseeing the scarcity of rain, the remaining one fourth of ground water will also get exhausted in upcoming ten to fifteen years. What next?
I have the figures and statistics upto previous year before me. 12 districts of North Karnataka have reached the pitiable situation of being supplied water through tankers. The women here have to waste their entire day standing at queue near the water taps. Bathing and washing clothes have lost continuity. Due to shortage of water and by consuming hard water, people are falling ill. During previous April, there was no shortage of food grains for mid day meals at schools of Chamarajnagar, it was just that there was non availability of water to cook food. As the dams are drying up, there is only one way left out. Supplying the remaining bit of water for consumption and emptying the dams. And then, staring at the skies and waiting for rains. That’s it.
Peasent’s vision on profitable crops : The irateness of mother nature towards us and the situations prevailing in Karnataka are reasonless. We are the wire pullers of all this. The farmer who cultivated crops which consumed less water such as ragi, jowar and millets, is now trying cultivating cotton and sugar cane. The land area of sugar cane cultivation has expanded and increased by 100% i.e from 2 lakh hectares to 4 lakh hectares. In the regions of Belagavi, Bagalkot and Koppal the ground water is being drained and poured to land to grow sugar cane. At the drinking water deficient regions of Bidar too, sugar cane was being cultivated and made the state raise its brows. Sugar cane cultivation is easy, less tiring and there is guarantee on return of money says the farmer. This cultivated sugar cane has to be purcahsed by sugar industries else the price value decreases and the farmer is brought down to streets. The monetary grants amounting to thousands of crore made in the name of support price, go to the pockets of politicians. If it rains properly atleast for an year, then well and good. Else, again we indulge in draining the ground water.
What if the water deposit gets exhausted ?: Have we ever thought that water sources as deposits in bank? As though we would survive from the interest earned on deposits, during last breaths remove the deposit! The famines which are to be witnessed ahead are due to emptying of water deposit saved by our ancestors.The famines will calm only after performing tragic dance on our corpse! The Government which was supposed to ban sugar industries to save water, is permitting to establish the new ones every year and encouraging farmers to cultivate sugar cane. Probably now it is understood. The British whom I had described the past week, who were the cause of artificial famines in India, have now cohered into our pupil’ and are doing the same deeds!
Government’s way of handling is different. It had made clear stating that it would not supply water for agriculture during September 2015. During 2016 it stated ‘not to provide water to fields because drinking water was of the eminent preference’. The Government which was aware that supplying water to fields was only possible if it provided electricity to the farmers. So, it stopped electricity supply and saved water!
The pitiable scenario of Bengal: Already thousands of cows and cattle are groaning and dying due to unavailability of water and fodder at the Malemahadeshwara Hill. As happened in Bengal during 1906, farmer here too is selling his cows to slaughter houses for Penny’s worth as is getting relived. The Government which was supposed to contemplate regarding providing fodder to cattle, is approving slaughter houses and exulting, feeling it has reduced the pressure on farmers. Approving slaughter houses at rural Banglore regions where agriculturists are more is the sin equal to giving approvals to establish sugar industries at drought victim regions of Bidar and Kalburgi.
India’s root profession agriculture depends on water. Along with that, the solution to our unemployment problems lies in agriculture. Do you know why the people of North Karnataka are migrating to South Karnataka? It is because of stoppage of agricultural activities due to lack of rains. The farmer who remained there as borrower, fell into the wishes of the rich. He was left wandering behind politicians. Many who proclaim to be farmer agonists are indulged in trading the agricultural produce of farmers and have settled in towns. The people who had money, migrate from their villages to cities and become professionals. What should those with no money do? With no way to tackle, failing to repay loans, they commit suicide. According to statistics, from April 2015 to December, 915 farmers of Karnataka gave up their lives by committing suicide. Do you know what’s the wonder? The large number of suicide commitment were recorded from well irrigated regions such as Mandya, Mysore, Hasan, Belagavi. The farmers of Yadgiri who could not end their lives nor survive these adversities, emigrated to distant places by getting their girl children at young age!
Do we need IPL during summer?
While the nation is suffering from water scarcity, the sight of water being flooded to grounds to facilitate IPL matches, is stomach craunching. Minimum of 3 lakh ltrs of water is to be flooded to the grounds to play one match. If 30 matches are played in Karnataka, it leads to wastage of 30 lakh ltrs of water which is enough to provide drinking water to an entire town. What is the loss in postponing IPL to after monsoon?
Remember. We are sitting on a volcano. Though we don’t know the date and day it would blast, we are aware of the fact that it may blast in the near future. According to the study of Centre For Science And Environment, since 1997 till recent times, the probable drought victim regions have increased by 57%. Misfortune is that, all these are not the outcomes of lack of rain. If compared, there was reduction in rain around 12% to 25%. But still, droughts are not the causes either. This is the result of not saving the water and failing to encourage to effectively utilize water. Remember, the half of India’s drought victim regions are cultivable lands. Right from the Prime Minister to the Chief Minister, everyone speak of food security. To have the abundant stock of nutritious food grains by the year 2020, around hundreds of ten lakh tonnes of it should be produced. The half of cultivable land which was supposed to produce this, has turned out to become drought obstructed. If so, when shall we reach the Goal?
Many of the citizen’s representatives do not understand the depth of these problems. When asked for permanent irrigation project, they say that they shall take waters of river Netravati to Kolar, they shall snatch and bring river Mahadayi. All these are golden eggs which fetch votes in their respective regions. In this direction, the expenses incurred to pierce pipes into earth so as to seek water, the chopping down of forests are the invitations for permanent drought. The dream of joining River Ganga and Kaveri is not different as well. At the sight of such kinds of projects, the people possessing concern towards nature burst out with anger.
It is time for Karnataka to think seriously in this regard. Enough of dancing to the wish of contractor, in the name of permanent irrigation project. Framing of policies required by the state and accomplishing the works one by one in this direction is all we need to do now. The intellectuals who have undertaken studies, research, ground level works with regards to water, should gather at one place and pour their views in making the state drought free. The Government should make use of non governmental associations and the public to implement those constructive views.
Ohh! There’s lots of work to be done. Already 160 districts have been identified as drought victims. To make good the losses, requests to lend thousands of crores are made to the central government for relief purposes. Relief is just a plea. By the time it reaches the beneficiary, he gets ready for the next crop. Thus, our money in the form of tax goes waste and suffering from scarcity of water still persists. Since 10 years, we have wasted 3 lakh crore to provide relief from water issues. But, the relief received out of it is a big zero. We are unable to increase the cultivable land by 1% since a decade! Then what is the worth of phrases such as Technology, Innovation, Research?
The solution to water scarcity lies within us. Let’s get Awakened and work towards making nation free from droughts.