Saturday, August 16, 2008

Now it is Hogenakkal - what next and what more?

For all the people who don’t know about Hogenakkal, please Google it and you will be greeted with results that take you to a beautiful, pristine waterfalls present inside Tamilnadu, close to the Karnataka border. Now, if you can see the image (map of south India) then it wouldn’t take much effort from you to understand a simple geographical thing I’m going to put across. Tamilnadu has ocean surrounding it on one side of its entire border and on the other three sides are the states – Andhra Pradesh on top, Karnataka on top left and Kerala on the left.

A simple observation would reveal that Tamilnadu lies at the bottom (geographically) of the Indian states. And, TN doesn’t have any perennial rivers originating inside its border – very tough luck huhL. Well, not really or until till recently. We had the sister states on the border of TN sharing the water they received in an altruistic manner (per agreements though) – kudos to them. Ok, what has changed? I will blame it on the easiest of reason in the world today – population explosion. The number of people depending on the water increased across all the states and sister states are now finding it difficult to share their water per agreement/or nation forbid “supreme court ruling”.

Why the difficulty? Take for instance, Karnataka’s agricultural land cover. I don’t have the exact statistics but the cultivatable land inside Karnataka’s border has increased manifold in the last couple of decades and all these fertile lands need water. The same statistics exist inside TN also, but the percentile increase is much lower thanks to the lack of availability of copious water, which is required to make any land cultivatable.

Ok – how did KN get abundant water? Simple – they build more dams on the down Stream of Cauvery inside their borders to hold more water inside their borders. Hey, it is the duty of the KN Govt. to protect and provide for its people. And, they are doing that splendidly. However, they may be doing that at the cost of people of TN.

How? Let’s see that.

The more the dam they build, the more their capacity to hold water inside their borders and less the flow to TN.

The Cauvery water is also being used to supply water to the Bangalore city. This was not the traditional usage of Cauvery water inside KN and it put extra pressure to hold more water to quench the thirst of an ever expanding Bangalore city

Lack of skillful utilization of water inside KN, crop rotation is not much prevalent and all the crops cultivated are water consuming.

In addition to that, if all the states to the north of TN block water flow how will this state ever get water?

Ok – here is where leaders of TN have failed. They have not paid sufficient attention to small and large water bodies inside TN and that resulted in them draining away. Also, effective and efficient practice of farming was not encouraged and not much time and effort went in to research of farming.

However, having said, they have started to focus on this regard recently and ‘rain water harvesting’ implemented compulsorily in Chennai city is an example. And, the proposed sea water to drinking water plants in TN also stands testimony to that.

Solution on national level:-

1) Make a governing body or society for farmers across the nation; if govt. doesn’t do it, its high time farmers took the initiative themselves.

2) Nationalize all the rivers and give the control to an independent body of eminent and appropriate people.

3) Linking of all the rivers in the country should start and start right now. Implementation of this activity should be in such a manner that it takes in to account all the nature’s flood and drought pattern.

Some of the aforesaid activity needs lot of political will and commitment from parties dedicated to the welfare and progress of the nation. Also, farmers all over the nation should empathize and understand each other’s problem and should co-operate with each other to effectively use the scantiest of resource – water, the elixir of life. All of us have the same source and instead of competing for the same, cooperation should be the way forward.

It pains me to read about the regular flooding in Orissa and other northern states in our country while Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Maharashtra are constantly gripped by drought. We have enough intellect and money power to fix this disparity existing in our country.

Let there be enough resolve to fix this crisis in our country, which I believe would solve much of the agrarian crisis in our country.

Jai hind!