Water scarcity : The Tribune India

Water scarcity

Displacement of Nuh villagers should be prevented

Water scarcity

The Mewat region of Haryana has been affected by salinity in groundwater for long and the lingering of the problem points not only to developmental neglect of the district, but also discrimination in favour of areas that are more naturally endowed. Photo for representation only



Water crisis forcing villagers in Nuh district of Haryana to contemplate migration is a matter of concern. The residents, most of who are into farming, have to buy water from tankers at exorbitant rates to meet their daily needs. While the administration has planned digging of wells and ponds to bring relief, it may prove to be a case of too little, too late. Taking such measures in advance may prove to be more helpful in alleviating the distress. The Mewat region of Haryana has been affected by salinity in groundwater for long and the lingering of the problem points not only to developmental neglect of the district, but also discrimination in favour of areas that are more naturally endowed. That the crisis should take place when the paddy season is in full swing may only result in livelihood issues for the villagers.

Water crisis has also surfaced in Sangrur district of Punjab that borders Haryana. Like Nuh, Sangrur is listed among the dark zones where there is an acute deficit of groundwater. With water from tubewells turning out to be contaminated and unfit for consumption, villagers are hard-pressed to find clean drinking water, taking recourse to the Bhakra canal. The Covid pandemic has also deepened worries over untreated canal water being used for drinking purposes. Depletion of groundwater has already resulted in a revision of the date for sowing of paddy, a water-intensive crop, in Punjab and while efforts are made to supply uninterrupted power to the rural areas to help in farming activities, non-functioning tubewells add to the problem. A late monsoon in the north is also delaying the recharge of groundwater.

The problem should be looked at from a developmental perspective. Areas like Nuh need proper planning to tackle water scarcity which impedes growth with the district lagging behind others. Supply of clean drinking water is a clear parameter on the development index while irrigation for fields is important to sustain agriculture, the mainstay of the economy. Not measuring up on both fronts may prove detrimental.

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