Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bore-wells not for the water but for the blood!

Navanath. He is the new name who defeated the death which called him on when it was not supposed to knock his door so early and in a cruel manner. This five and half year boy from Gulbarga saw a new life when he was rescued from the open bore-well after the restless operation of eight hours.

The incident summons the similar misshapenness, some ended in tragedy and the other in sigh of big relief. Another boy who was fortunate enough to save his life after collapsing into the 53 feet deep open bore-well was Prince of Kurukshetra. Prince who struggled for 50 long hours to overcome from the clutches of death had hit the national headline. However in 2007, Sandeep, a boy from Raichur lost his live in the bore-well. The same tragic fate meted to 7 year old Kariya of Davanagere in 2000 and 6 years old Chitradurga boy Timma in 2003.
The government as usual, came up with a promise to closure of stinking bore wells which are left open. But it convinced no one as these promises are as dry as the stinking bore-wells. The time has arrived to think seriously about the craze of bore-wells. It is not only concerned with the life of the children playing in the field who are the potential victims but as a matter of fact, it has ruined so many lives beyond our imagination. We only look at the cases of slipping into the well. Apart from that, its ugly face is hidden in the death of innumerable formers who have committed suicide unable to remit their debts.
Unlike in the case of open well and other water sources, it lacks the refilling capacity. The evidences prove that couples of bore-wells near the other kind of water sources are enough to damage the whole system by making the latter suffer adversely. Thus it leading to make the water a private property while the other who badly needed it anyway suffer without alternatives. Initially when you get water from the very surface level itself, the system look smart. But soon one need to go deeper and deeper till it dries up. That is what generally happens with most of the bore-wells.

In this era of rain water harvesting, there need not be a hesitation to bid adieu to the bore-wells. The success stories of rain water harvesting are the answer to the dead and deadly bore-wells. According to the reports of a Kannada TV channel, there are some 60 bore-wells in a hazardous conditions can be seen in Koppala, the number raises to 200 in Bidar and if one goes to scrutinize such bore-wells across the nation it will perhaps cross six digits.
A reference to the article of P Sainath, a Magsassay awardees and the finest developmental journalist, says it all. He finds out with all the facts and figure that the debt for these bore-wells among farmers is the major cause for their suicide. He gives the example of Musampally of Andhra Pradesh in which bore-wells are more in number than the people! Out of 6000 bore-wells in the region, 85 percent are failed. He rightly points out that the huge amount as much as 6.52 crore would have been spend on other type of minor irrigation project, which might have turned the village prosperous. They invested a huge amount on digging the bore-wells and when it did not yield anything, they saw the solution in ending their life.

Bore-wells, they mean the license for exploiting the ground water beyond the limit. Take the example of Manerajuri village of Sangli, which once was prosperous enough to reap a good harvest thanks to its good water resource. Now the 11000 people of this village virtually live in the mercy of state sponsored water tanks. The craze for the bore-wells landed them in this plight. It has 5000 bore-wells, all dry. The land which ones boast of 2600 acre grape farm now reduced to 200 acres. The farmers of the region went deeper and deeper in the greed of water. Now they can not climb over.

Having more number of bore-wells has become a prestigious issue for a former like car craze to businessmen or to an actor. This must be broken. The state need to intensify its effort in taking the modern idea of water harvesting to the doorstep of the farmers.

But the politicians think otherwise in this regard. They have no time to educate the masses. The promise of giving new bore-wells remains one of the popular election gimmicks. In 2004 election TDP and Congress candidates sank 400 free bore-wells in Andhra, according to the media reports. No one bothers to know how many bore-wells met with failure. After the Kurukshetra incident, the Mysore district administration had initiated a rough estimation. The estimation had revealed that there were 12000 bore-wells falls into Mysore jurisdiction. If this is the case of a single district, God only knows how many bore-wells we have in this country and of them how many are in a hazardous condition; and how many are indirectly claimed the lives of poor farmers.

Is this not the right time for bid adieu to the bore-wells and welcome the modern techniques of irrigation?