The scarcity of water and the 24-hour trade that thrives on water scarcity in Osmanabad show India still lags behind in providing basic amenities to its citizens (“When water flows like money,” March 5). Spending Rs 800 a month and about eight to 10 hours a day on just fetching water from far off places will not only put an economic burden on the villagers but also affect their health and livestock. Since water is a State subject, it is the Maharashtra government’s responsibility to ensure that adequate water is available in drought prone areas. It should educate the villagers on water conservation techniques.
P. Sainath’s heartrending narration on the water scarcity in Takwiki village throws light on the unending travails of hapless people. There are many Takwikis in India. On reading the article, I was reminded of the Athipatti village from the Tamil film Thanneer Thanneer. Poverty, illiteracy and social backwardness are a curse across the nation. There is little earnestness on the part of governments to address the concerns of the poor, who are just a chapter in the poll manifestos of political parties. The popular upsurge in countries like Greece, Portugal and elsewhere in Europe has lessons for both the people and the powers-that-be in India.
Mr. Sainath’s article and the report “Farmers spending a fortune on borewells in parched Marathwada” by Shoumojit Banerjee (March 5) portray the grim situation in Maharashtra. There are a number of other States which are equally callous about the utilisation of natural resources. It is a pity that the people in the Marathwada region are awaiting the elections to show their dissent. A democracy where leaders are far from the people, buy people during elections and are off once the elections are over will soon transform into a ‘demonocracy.’
Can’t basic necessities like water be regulated by the government? If a family spends a lion’s share of its income and productive time on procuring water, what will it be left with? The lack of will on the part of politicians is the main reason for this state of affairs.