It’s hard to digest the incidence of farmer suicide which is increasing year by year in India. As far as the Indian economy is concerned around 60 percent of the population, directly and indirectly, depend on agriculture and it has been considered as the backbone of Indian economy. Indian agricultural community is facing a lot of contemporary problems, in north India, the regions of Punjab and Haryana are losing the soil fertility which greatly affects the productivity and southern India is facing a drought situation for long period of time. This article focuses mainly on the drought situation which is prevailing in southern India.
The rivers of India can be divided into two depending on the source; they are snow fed and the rain-fed. The north Indian rivers are fed by snowfall i.e. because of melting of glaciers like Gangotri, Yamunotri and many other Himalayan glaciers, so the northern part of India has a supply of water for agriculture during the harvest period but the southern part of India hugely depends on monsoonal rainfall for agriculture. There has been a change in rainfall pattern in the past year, the geographical reasons include El Nino effect and it is also been reported that climate change had a huge impact.
The another issue is that although the usage of water has increased multi-fold, the infrastructure that includes ponds, dams, lakes has not been created to conserve the rain water and to be truth lot of lakes and ponds has been destroyed in the recent time in the name of industrial development.
The ancient map of Madurai region in Tamil Nadu depicts lots of ponds throughout the regions; the ancient rulers gave a lot of importance to water conservation system and to agriculture. The underlying concept is that as the rainfall is unpredictable and in order to manage the drought season they created ponds to conserve the water but today the government is not giving such importance to the conservation of water.
One has to learn from Chennai flood is that there is a huge need for infrastructure for the conservation of forest. Imagine the situation if we have effectively conserved the rainfall that we received during 2015, I would certainly say that there will be no such water scarcity in Chennai for next 10 years but unfortunately all the rainfall has drained into the ocean as waste water, so there is huge responsibility for the government to focus on creating ponds and lakes throughout the region in order to effectively conserve the rain water.
Another incident which I would like to stress here is sand mining in dry river beds, geologically it will take very long time to form a layer of sand. Mining the sands in an aggressive manner will reduce the water retention capacity of the land and in periods of flood, it will cause a massive disaster because of the absence of sand bed to absorb the flowing water. This kind of actions is largely focused on short-term returns rather they failed to realise and very lethargic about the long term effects.
As a responsible citizen, we have the responsibility to make available the natural resources of this land to be made available to our future generation. We greatly speak about sustainability but it will happen when policy formulation turns into a real action.
VENKATESH, I-YEAR, PGDM