Water in Maharashtra is being rationed to water for drinking only. In the sweltering heat, where lands have gone dry and crops cannot be planted because of lack of rains, any water the local authorities are providig is for drinking only.
Having planted his seeds at a cost of 100,000 rupees and waited for the rains, a farmer is out of pocket. The rains didn't come, the seeds did not yield crops, it has all been wasted. The farm has become dry arid land. The government will give him some relief compensation, of 5000 rupees. Due to lack of rain, the farmer has become poor. He is facing a loss of 95,000 rupees and gets water only for drinking.
Several hundred farmers have committed suicide over the last two years in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, unable to face their creditors. This is a serious situation, in which government intervention would be an ideal solution. If the money-lenders themselves show some mercy and defer the loans and reduce the interest rates, that would alleviate the situation. Mercilessly taking over farms which are turning to arid land, with the hope of developing buildings there, may not prove such an easy option. Where there is lack of water, it will be difficult to build, and people will not be wishing to move into such an area.
A critical point seems to have been temporarily reached, where there is shortage of water. Water reservoirs will need to be built, together with transportation of water either through pipes or roads, from areas which receive abundant water to areas such as the above. A co-ordinated plan of co-operation between States will have to be formed, and enlistment of co-operation to carry out the projects to completion. Most years, the Eastern coast states receive more than their share of water, and sometimes are even deluged. That water, if harnessed for transport to the regions that need it, can prove a great blessing. Some agro-economists from West Bengal have looked at such issues in the past 50 years or so, but not much has been really done. Hopefully, when Dr. Pranab Mukherjee becomes President, he will have the klout to initiate the implementation of such projects, which would prove beneficial to both Bengal and the whole of India.
To the Rain Gods, I pray for rains in India, all the rain-makers kindly join in.