In to a greater extent than or less other fifteen years, the nutrient bowl of the Earth — Punjab together with Haryana — volition acquire dry. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 2007 study of the Central Ground Water Board had projected that groundwater availability for irrigation inward 2025, quotes a study inward The Times of India, is negative. Already Punjab, for instance is over-exploiting the hugger-mugger water at the charge per unit of measurement of 45 per cent to a greater extent than withdrawals every twelvemonth than the natural recharge.
This study assumes importance inward the lite of the recent NASA study which has used the information provided past times twin satellites GRACE. Accordingly, Punjab, Haryana together with Rajasthan are consuming 109 cubic kms of H2O inward 6 years. With a paddy coverage of 38,061 sq kms, the north-western parts of the Earth is losing groundwater at the charge per unit of measurement of a human foot each year. In to a greater extent than or less other study of the Indo-Gangetic plains, NASA finds that the groundwater withdrawal is seventy per cent to a greater extent than inward this decade than inward the 1990s.
The bad monsoon this twelvemonth has compounded the crisis. I accept e’er been maxim that blame for the prevailing drought is thirty per cent on the truant monsoon, together with the remaining seventy per cent is man-made. We are primarily responsible for accentuating drought atmospheric condition because of the relentless H2O mining that nosotros accept indulged inward merrily over the years. But accept nosotros learnt whatsoever lessons? Are nosotros willing to brand necessary corrections howsoever radical they may be? The respond is NO.
I accept been pleading for changing the cropping pattern. In an article Change Cropping Pattern (Deccan Herald, June 2, 2005) I wrote: It makes no sense to grow H2O guzzling crops inward dry out lands. Such crops would exclusively plough lands barren. I come across no justification inward growing H2O guzzling sugarcane inward the semi-arid tracts of Rajasthan. Or for that matter, cultivate mentha, which requires 1.25 lakh litres of H2O for every kilo of oil, inward the dry out lands of Bundelkhand. Common sense tells us that nosotros should live on cultivating crops which remove less H2O inward the dry out lands. You volition live on shocked to know that nosotros genuinely promote together with cultivate inward the drylands hybrid crops — hybrid rice, hybrid sorghum, hybrid maize, hybrid cotton fiber together with hybrid vegetables — which remove almost 1.5 times to two times to a greater extent than H2O than the high-yielding varieties.
On elevation of it the authorities is right away busy pushing GM crops. First it promoted (and is all the same doing) Bt cotton, whose H2O requirement is 10-20 per cent to a greater extent than than fifty-fifty the hybrids. The GEAC is right away waiting to accord commercial approving for Bt brinjal. I am non certain how much H2O does Bt Brinjal consume, but going past times the sense of Bt cotton fiber it appears that Bt brinjal besides would remove most twenty per cent to a greater extent than water. Is that the agency we should let the seed companies to exploit the hugger-mugger H2O resources?
The alert bells accept been ringing for quite sometime. I uncovering the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making the right sort of statements, but acting merely the contrary way. On the Independence Day, Aug 15, I was surprised when inward his spoken communication he mentioned that the command over the natural resources should be with the people. My surprise was because it is he who has been genuinely pushing for somebody command over the natural resources, including Earth resources. He had sometimes dorsum told a conference organised past times The Economic Times that the fourth dimension has come upwardly for the Special Economic Zones. How tin the resources belong to people when you lot aggressively promote SEZ together with Earth acquisitions?
While you lot contemplate the veracity of PM’s statements, I advise you lot read the splendid intelligence analysis Driving Water Under Ground: