Water, a natural resource, covers 3/4th of the earth’s surface and still we come across places on earth where water is a scarce resource. Many parts of India suffer from severe drought conditions every year and usually politics kicks off by opposition parties blaming the government in power and govt usually blaming previous governments.
This year, the Marathwada region in Maharashtra particularly the district of Latur and nearby districts have come under severe water crunch. What has made situation worse is even the urban city of Latur with a population of around 5 Lakh+ has virtually no water supply from the corporation through pipelines. Only around 70 tankers are supplying water each day to 35 wards in Latur which is much less than its actually requirement. So what does this translate too?
The rest of the population is buying water tankers at an exorbitant price of around Rs. 800-1000 per tanker and for drinking purposes they are dependent on bottled water. So that works around nearly Rs.3000- Rs.5000 per family per month. For those who can afford it, it’s the only way out and for those who cannot, they have to stand in long queues in the scorching heat to get water. Some wait for 6-12 hours just to fetch water and this means their daily lives get affected and so does their income source as they have to skip work, their kids have to skip schools and so on.
This has brought into picture the dark side of democracy where – Water has become a privilege for the rich and the poor is left to suffer just because they don’t have an option. In Democracy comes the right to vote. But for democracies to work properly – all people should have proper education first. Only when people know the power of their vote, they will be reluctant to sell it. Until that day democracy will always have a darker side to it.
“In India, the Right to water has been protected as a fundamental human right by the Indian Supreme Court as part of the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian constitution. The right to life has been expanded significantly over the last three decades to include the right to health and the right to a clean environment which can include the right to clean drinking water.” –
But can the people sue the govt for not providing water? This is indeed questionable and something which only expert lawyers can comment on. But for the time being as it’s just March and things will get worse in April and May, govt has mooted a proposal to bring water through trains which looks like the only option at present available with the govt.
Looking back at the root cause of the problem you will find many blaming the previous govts for improper planning which is true but not the only cause of the issue. Fast urbanisation without paying much attention to environment and green belts has exaggerated the issue beyond control. For Latur to have a better climatic conditions, along with a proper government plan, people should be educated about planting more trees & should promote rain harvesting. Farmers in the region should be educated about organic plants which require less water and stress should be provided to convert the entire Marathwada region into a green belt. It would require more than just a scheme or plan. It would require a kind of revolution but if implemented this can turn around the Maharashtra State’s story forever. Politicians will have to cut across party lines and work for the welfare of the people rather than score political points over their opponents in such situations. Media too should be able to concentrate on finding solutions rather than just reporting the drawbacks of goverments!