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Shanti Gupta Blog…

WATER POLICIES, PRACTICES AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF WATER IN INDIA: A REVIEW

Water is a precious gift as well as scare resource in India as well as in the world too. From colonial period water is not seen as an issue because of excess availability of water in India. On the name of so called technological and development of either agriculture or infrastructure, the precious gift of our ‘Prithvi Maa’ is extracted by so called advanced and well developed human which do not have any category, it is only you and me who has exploited our natural resource water. In India like country caste and class are dominant in different span of time since independence. Pre independence the caste system was dominant in such a way that only higher caste people had the greatest advantage of natural resources .
Natural resources are available to every human but not accessible equally to all people. In natural resources there is common property resources which has a higher part of natural resources. There is no difference in the quality and extent of depletion of ground water irrespective of the category of people. The poor depend upon CPRs far more than the rich due to their lack of or low-productive assets, not enough work or purchasing power, particularly in the lean seasons. Therefore, the health of CPRs and ease of access are critical for these vulnerable groups (Development challenges in extremist affected areas, Govt. of India, 2008). Ultimately natural resources are at risk and if the extent of use will be facilitated in this way, one day will come when India will go for import of water at higher cost. Only common people are not responsible for depletion of water in India, our government do not have any strong policy to conserve water and water policies particularly water resources. Even though government do not have any strong policy to conserve water and water policy, in the same way government facilitates industrialization of water. In a very lower price government gives contract to industries for extraction of water without allocation of a part of the industries income for renewable of used water resource. On the name of so called industry and industrialization government used to allocate water of dams to industries rather providing benefit of water to common man. Water projects are sanctioned on the name of giving employment opportunities to village people government allocates the output of water resource to industries. Orissa one of the state who has natural resources but still people do not have electricity not even for household purpose but for income generating activities like agriculture too.
Mining is carried out in two ways: open cast and underground. Either way, the extraction of ore releases extensive dust which spreads all around and spoils all elements of the environment – it makes the agricultural lands barren, pollutes water sources, denudes forests, defiles the air and degrades the quality of life for people who live and work in this area(Development challenges in extremist affected areas, Govt. of India, 2008). In India the mining is done by big companies like POSCO, has been given access to mining but they have not given any right to make agriculture land barren, pollute water resources and disturb all other available resources nearby the mining area. People used to live happily but once the mining starts in respective area the problems of water scarcity comes and this type of disturbance brings conflicts in villages. Who are responsible for these conflicts? Who are responsible for polluting the water? Who are responsible for barren lands? Common, innocent people are not responsible for polluting the water, making lands barren and water conflicts indeed. It is Indian government policies who had closed their eyes to see these avoidable lose to natural resources water and other biodiversity. In this 12th five year plan government have come with a so called interesting title ‘Faster more sustainable growth, without any mechanism to bring a sustainable growth in India. After listening the title of 12th five year plan approach paper one can excited and have a hope about the development of India but once a person will read, he will be disappointed as there is no mechanism to bring an action plan for the development of India.
“Many developmental projects, especially mining and industrial activities, have serious implications for the ecology and environment. Accordingly the opinion of concerned people is sought about the possible impact of such activities on the environment, water regime, livelihood resources and such like through public hearings. Such hearings in large gatherings, however, have become mere rituals. They have earned notoriety for a command performance, and for ignoring or even distortion of opinions expressed. The concerned authorities in the Union Government have not even taken note of the provisions of PESA and the role of GS in these processes ((Development challenges in extremist affected areas, Govt. of India, 2008).”
The majority of population does not have access to safe drinking water according to national water policy 2002. National water policy 2002 says that every citizen of India should haave (1) 40 litres per capita per day (LPCD), additional 30 LPCD for cattle in DDP areas, (2) potable water source within 1.6 km in plains or 100 mtrs elevation in hilly areas and (3) one hand pump/stand post for every250 persons. Since 2012 government is not able to fulfill the above criteria. Even though water is available in India but majority of people do not have access to safe drinking water. Generally people depend on ground water for drinking purpose but since five decades the depletion of ground water has been seen.
In India our constitution has given right to access to safe drinking water but we do not have any mechanism or strategy to make available safe drinking water to our 1.21 billion population. Even though Indian government has presented draft of National Water Policy 2012 but this water policy is so general which do not have any specific, goal or target. The government where various water issues are disturbing life of common people do not have intention to work. This is reflected in one of the epw article of Chetan Pandit ‘Alternative Water Policy: A Crituque. The question is not only for safe water for people but there are many dam projects which do not have transparency in terms of who is going to get the benefit of these dam project, either people or industries.
In general government promised to give the benefit to community but the benefit would go to companies who over exploited the water resources. In the name of infrastructure development industries and companies used to make convenient transport for their vested interest. Here is a question what is that vested interest, generally water exploting companies used to go places who are rich in natural resource where there is lack of infrastructure for transport so for taking minerals or goods from one place to another place industries or companies used to construct roads and industries will say we are developing infrastructure for poor under developed people but these infrastructure cannot provide doctor/hospital to the needy people nor good price of agriculture product of farmers rather these infrastructure are used to take agriculture and water outputs to cities after purchasing on a lower price. Who avail the benefit in this process, really the industries/companies who have set up their plant in our land. These industries do not feel that they are exploiting our natural resources even proudly these companies will announce in their annula report that bla bla company has given lakh of employment to the village people but this is not the reality. The reality is that these companies used to extract water from our land which has been preserve by village people. In some of the cases farmers do not get water for irrigation which results in crop loss and ultimately farmer suicides. Government water policy is so generic that government neither has any provision nor they bother to stop these bad practices. Government cannot understand the plight of farmers because government officers used to get so called packed water of Bisleri of Aquafina in their home. Government officials have 24*7 hours electricity supply and all other facilities but what about the farmers or common man. Farmers or common man do not have any problem with the luxurious life of government officials but farmers have problems with not having transparency of various water project. Why poor common people should suffer. Common man do not want so called purified drinking bottle water nor the infrastructure which is not usable for his amenities which can bring well -being in his life.
Most of the water bottles companies like Pessico, Coca cola are depend on ground water for their water industry. In India if a person if a person owns a land then he can extract as much water as he want. The interesting thing is that these industries have taken advantage of weak Indian water policy. These companies have purchased the piece of land and extracted as much as water they are able to extact. Here we do not have eligibility to say that these companies have done bad or good. Here is question that what is the role of India water committee because everything is known by government but why they have not protest the over exploitation of water resources. The government fails to perform his duty and common man came with agitation against Coca Cola. Having this type of government is a shameful for a common man. This type of irresponsibility shows that officially India got freedom but still India is a under control of multinationals and foreign industries.
The story of over extraction does not end here, these multinational companies extract water @ 20 paisa in our land, and this is our natural resource. As a slap these multinational used to make huge profit by selling 1 litre water @ 15 Rupees. Not even selling at higher cost but also tones of water is exported to other countries because Indians are not developed and common people PPP do not allow his pocket to get water at 15 Rupees per liter. These water bottle companies used plastic bottle which pollutes environment but for this pollution also these companies need not to pay a single rupee. Knowing these fact I am astonished that these type of government should not been given responsibility of country otherwise every citizen will be like beggar for food, water or any other thing also. There is no explanation of this kind of crime against common people.
There is also one more interesting fact our government will proudly use to announce the GDP of India but government used to hide the fact that how many people are hungry and dying with malnutrition in lack of safe drinking water. Even though government do not use to facilitate any study regarding the access of water to poor people. These type of statistics are never made publicly available because our government do not have transparency and policies are made in favor of industries not in favor of common man. Even if any policy is made in favor of common people, it is never practiced the verdict is government not a common man.
Now government should formulate the policies in the favor of common people not having pressure of any industry or multinational company otherwise the day is not far when every citizen will be like beggar in India. Government should resign if they are not able to work for the people otherwise it will be more insult when people will say we do not want government like communist and capitalistic states.
The participation of common man in every process of government is necessary to avoid the loss of water and water bodies. The community should be empower to take decision instead of so called representatives of people in a democratic country.
References
1. Draft National Water Policy. 2012. Government of India
2. Alternative National Water Policy: A Review, Chetan pandit
3. (Development challenges in extremist affected areas, Govt. of India, 2008

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Filed under: Academic Writing

2 Responses

  1. Shreerang says:

    nice abstract of the reading

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