World Water Day
United Nations Organization has been celebrating ‘World Water Day’ every year. In 2016, it falls on 22nd March; and the focus line for this year is, ‘Water and Jobs’. Apparently, for 9 million farmers in the Marathwada region, the absence of the former has turned into loss of the latter.
There are millions of farm workers and daily laborers, who used to work from sunrise to sunset, just to earn a meager wage of RS100/- each. Since the massive destruction of the kharif crops due to the deceptive monsoon they all are out of work now, and finding it hard to gather one full meal for their families. Last year alone in the Vidharba region, more than 1000 farmers committed suicide owing to the draught, while the total official figure of the farmer suicides since, stands at 3225.
According to official sources, the primary reason for the situation is the uneven rainfall over the region in the last three years, combined with the dry spells. To make the situation worse, the groundwater level has depleted and water tables have dipped drastically in the past five years. If experts are to be believed, water-guzzling crops like sugarcane are the reason behind this, and so are the sugar mills that have been abruptly mushrooming in the region.
Although, in order to curtail the crisis, the Latur district administration has deployed some 300 water tankers, to cater to around 960 odd villages, the ground report says that the tankers reach the villages only once in three weeks, if at all. Such alarming is the situation that people, out of desperation, have started resorting to violence and loot of water, and the government ultimately had to impose Section-144 (the first time, it has been imposed over water crisis).
With the most dependable water source, the Dhanegaon water reservoir going completely dry, and the last of summer stillbeing four months away, the last ray of hope for the natives of Latur region seems to have sizzled down too.
Not intending to preach, but to people like us, for who water is still far from being a luxury, we have only one thing to say.