By Desmond Ng and Tamal Mukherjee
25 July 2017

INDIA (Channel New Asia) – Much of the once bountiful and lush-green rice fields was reduced to a dry, yellow-brown landscape, after successive years of scanty rainfall and severe drought.

For farmer Mr Vijayakumar, 52, the rice crop was his family’s sole source of income. Hit by the double whammy of crop failure and mounting debts, he took a lonely walk to the edge of his two-acre rice field in Tamil Nadu in January this year.

There the tough, rugged man, used to the hard toil of a farmer for decades, hanged himself from a nearby tree.

“He was constantly worrying about the debts,” said his wife Vijayakumari, who is now struggling to cope with the loss of her husband and their escalating debts. “His mind was never at peace. He kept saying that there were so many debts to repay and he was worried about how his only son was going to manage all that.” […]

Years of scanty and inadequate rainfall have led to the drying up of water reservoirs and village water bodies in southern India, especially the grain-growing regions of Tamil Nadu which is facing its worse drought in 140 years.

Water activist Dr Rajendra Singh said: “We have not seen a drought of this intensity before. People have lost hope in life and are committing suicide.”

Aerial vierw of the once-mighty 800km Cauvery River, a major lifeline in southern India on which millions of farmers depend, now a dessicated channel of dust. Photo: Channel New Asia

“People are leaving the villages and moving to the cities… They don’t have food to eat and water to drink. There is no fodder for the livestock,” added the winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and the Stockholm Water Prize.

The once-mighty 800km Cauvery River, a major lifeline in southern India on which millions of farmers depend, has turned into dust tracts in several sections before it trickles down to the Bay of Bengal.

Dense forests once helped to retain water on the hill slopes, enabling slow percolation into the streams that feed the river. But widespread deforestation along the Cauvery Basin has led to soil erosion and a reduction in rainfall. […]

Bauxite mining has also wreaked havoc and contributed to a collapse of groundwater levels. [more]

As a river dies: India could be facing its ‘greatest human catastrophe’ ever

2 comments :

  1. Dennis Mitchell said...

    We gave trillions to bankers. I can see debt as a sin. Bankruptcy only works for the rich.  

  2. Anonymous said...

    Since the land can't support many people anymore, perhaps it's time for a one child policy? Hint hint!  

 

Blog Template by Adam Every . Sponsored by Business Web Hosting Reviews