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Maharashtra drought is man-made: Devinder Sharma


Updated: April 2, 2013, 6:14 PM IST
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Maharashtra drought is man-made: Devinder Sharma
Maharashtra drought: how acute is the problem?

Food policy analyst Devinder Sharma joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the intensity of the Maharashtra drought, its causes, possible interventions and more.

Q. If drought is severe,why cant government shutdown sugarcane refineries for a while which consume lot of water? Asked by: Rajeev

A. Closing sugarcane mills may not be the right answer. The best would be to stop the use of water for lawns/golf courses/cricket stadiums.

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Q. Don't you think that the amount of money that is being spent of relief and all should actually be spent on things like pipelines or dams so that in future it gets better. This drought thing will happen every year, so the govt will give relief again and again. How foolish can one be. And god knows how much relief money is actually given to the actual user.All tax payers money are being wasted big time. Asked by: G.

A. Yes, I agree. Drought relief is for emergency purposes. What is important is to lay out a drought proofing system in place.

Q. What are the causes? Asked by: laxman

A. Drought ofcourse is caused by scanty rainfall. But in Maharashtra it is further compounded by inept and faulty handling. Man made reasons are responsible for aggravating the crisis.

Q. How much did water saved by playing dry Holi in Mumbai did helped Maharashtra`s drought hit area? Why don't people invest in R&D on this area n bring up innovative solution? Asked by: Madhava

A. Dry Holi is a stupid and a cosmetic suggestion. More serious thought should be given to ensure that water meant for agriculture is not diverted to industries. Agri minister in Maharashtra had even asked for stopping the diversion.

Q. What is the intensity of Maharashtra drought? Asked by: Priya

A. It is a severe drought.

Q. How can this drought be curtailed in future? Is it right to host IPL in 2 stadiums when state is under severe drought Asked by: Kashyap

A. Any sensitive state would have ensured that IPL matches are not held at a time the state is reeling under drought. There is no dearth of cricket venues in India.

Q. As per my understanding such problems can resolved only through mass movements (water consrvation initiatives by Anna Hazare, Tarun Bharat etc and public awareness. Politicians and corporates will try have mamaximum controll over the resources. Asked by: BSG

A. Yes, mass awareness is very crucial. Along with that we need right kind of policies and approaches to less the impact of droughts. It can be done provided there is a political will.

Q. Sugarcane is a high water-requiring (with an average of 20 megalitres of water/ha) crop ,Why govt is not discouraging farmers from cultivating that in drought prone areas? Asked by: Rajeev

A. Sugarcane is a crop which is water guzzling. Its cultivation should be discouraged in areas which are rain-fed.

Q. What were activists doing when MH govt clandestinely manipulated water allocation policy to give priority to industry? Asked by: bhaz

A. Not only activists, policy makers should have focused on this aspect. After all, it is the job of planners and policy makers.

First Published: April 2, 2013, 6:14 PM IST
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