AIKMS has given a call for the declaration of water emergency in India. With drought conditions in more than half the districts in the country, the situation is grim. Construction work must be halted during peak summer months. Water fountains, water sports and gross wastage of water in fancy gardens of bungalows and hotels too must be stopped, among other measured.
The central executive committee (CEC) of AIKMS has said that severe water shortage, ground water depletion and drought conditions in more than half the districts of the country are the direct result of failure of the government to manage and conserve rainwater, restore water bodies, conserve topsoil, maintain forest cover, ensure low water consuming cropping pattern in dry areas along with promotion of water consumerism, urbanisation/ concrete constructions on farm land, massive unplanned construction, depletion of non-concreted spaces in urban areas and parks and wasteful heavy industrial and thermal power use of river waters, amongst others.
CEC has criticised the government for shifting the blame on natural causes and has said that man-made causes are mainly to blame as they are remediable. Despite several areas witnessing 10% less rainfall than normal, state government have failed to declare drought and take necessary steps to mitigate peoples’ suffering.
AIKMS has called upon the central government to declare a state of water emergency in the country, implement emergency measures and make a long term review to ensure that free drinking water is supplied to people, crops and for animals at all cost. The emergency measures are:
- Declare all blocks with 10% less rain as drought stricken. Declare water supply as essential for life.
- Ban free commercial trade of water during summer months in all drought areas.
- Ensure free supply of drinking water for at least six hours, per day, by local administrations to all rural and urban residential and resettlement colonies. Strict punishment to officials where water supply is not restored. No imposition of Section 144 and punishment to the people.
- Ensure adequate drinking water for animals in all drought stricken areas free of cost.
- Grant 50 kg food grain free of cost and Rs. 3000/- per month emergency aid to all peasants in drought stricken areas to ensure survival.
- Implement and guarantee MNREGS for entire year to all rural households with enhanced wage payment of Rs. 500/- per day in drought areas.
- Ban on luxury use of water during summer months, April to June, in all water short districts e.g. water sports, IPL matches, horse racing, golf, maintenance of luxury lawns in hotels, in government bungalows, recreational centres, etc.
- Ban on construction of concrete structures, urban dwellings, SEZs, smart cities on agricultural land.
Long Term Measures:
- Review of minimum gauge and flow of water in all perennial rivers, declare data on available water asset in the rivers. Review all industrial establishments planned and built along the course of such rivers using and polluting the river water. Implement progressive ban on use of river water by thermal power plants and heavy water wasting industries along with promotion of solar energy.
- Ban heavy water consuming cropping pattern in water starved districts. Implement policy of suitable area wise, low water consuming cropping pattern, grant of government subsidised cheap inputs and profitable support price to all such crops.
- Review water conservation implementation. Declare data on restoration and depth of ponds, lakes, canals, check dams, overflow weirs in drought stricken districts. Bring white paper on depletion of rural and urban water bodies over last two decades. Declare current owners and current use of such land.
- Review reduction in tree cover area and reduction in precipitation during last 20 years.
- Withdraw government policy to impose taxation on ground water withdrawal by common people and peasants for drinking water and farming.
- Review concreting of ground areas, parks, pathways which reduce water
- recharging carpet area in urban areas.
AIKMS shall conduct nationwide by campaign on above issue and build struggles to force the govt. to except the above demands. The government’s initiative to promote interests of big companies and rich consumer and allow the farmers to suffer is leading grave agrarian crisis. Restoration of water resource is crucial to revival of agricultural and rural livelihood.
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