Friday, October 2, 2015

Call for “Monsoon-Ready” India

Every year, in the first week of June, we the people in India wait eagerly for the Monsoon rains. Tormented by the hot sun for more than four months, we feel exhausted and look at the sky every now and then wishing the rains to fall, which would be followed by a fall in the temperature. With the approach of the rains, our dry dams, reservoirs, and lakes would be filled with water and through the pipe lines, the water will head towards the tanks in our houses. The farmers would get their crop fields irrigated. People would throng sea beaches and other spots to enjoy the rains at its first arrival. 

Presume monsoon hits India in the first week of June. So what  would our lives be in the second week of June? Some city is flooded due to excessive rains. Some farmer commits suicide because it doesn’t rain on his land on time and his crops get damaged. Some big city is struggling with the traffic issues. Some train gets delayed or derailed. Some people die due to land slide. Some child falls into a manhole. People struggle to live in their roofless houses, some walls fall down on people when they are asleep, some trees fall down on people, etc. 

India has been blessed with this geographical boon called “Monsoon”, where every year it rains for three to four months at a particular period. Still we don’t have a single year in which we don’t experience all the above mentioned debacles. Nature gives us eight months to prepare for the monsoons; however, as soon as it arrives, our lives become worse in many ways. Monsoon has become such an element in our lives that neither we can live without it nor can we deal with it effectively.

The question is if nature has planned Monsoon for us, why haven’t we managed to deal with it? Why do we still have women in many villages walk miles to get a pot of drinking water? India has always been a country of farmers, where a majority of people survive on farming or related occupations. However, still we haven’t done enough to secure the future of so many citizens. We have seen numerous deaths due to cloud bursts. Have we learnt any lessons from them? For example, are Mumbai and Uttarakhand ready to channelize the water in case of another cloud burst?

Precisely, what we need at this point of time after 68 years of independence is a “monsoon-ready” India. We must have better and more number of water reservoirs spreading across the country evenly. We must have rivers interconnected to avoid any situation of flood or drought. We must preserve the rain water, allowing it to go underneath the ground rather than into the sea. It’s not a work of a few days. It might take decades to achieve this goal. However, we can achieve this goal only when we plan and work towards it. Otherwise, even in next million years, we will continue to lose our resources to monsoon rather than gaining from it.

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