Let Chennai story be wake up call:
Harvesting rain water
Harvest rain water. This seems to be Narendra Modi’s call in his second innings as the Prime Minister of the country and it sits well with the grim reality of the day. Chennai is dry today and there is a lesson to be learnt from this. Apart from the poor rainfall, Chennai is today paying the price for the utter disrespect towards its waterbodies and water sources. According to an article in the Economic Times, Chennai and its two neighbouring districts-Kancheepuram and Tiruvallu had more than 6000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs. At present, there are only 3896 and Chennai alone has lost nearly 150 such water bodies down the years. It is in line with the mission of the Prime Minister that Chief Minister N Biren talked about the need to conserve rain water and ground water in the State. The stand of the Chief Minister is noted, but yet has any policy been adopted to save the fast shrinking water bodies in Imphal and the valley areas ? What steps have been taken up to save the water bodies at Lamphelpat ? And remember there are many localities which end with the word pat which in Manipuri means lake. So there is Lamphelpat, Keishampat, Porompat etc, but minus the pat. All indications that the natural water bodies in Imphal have dried up. Forty years back, there were big Khongbans along the road from Keishampat to Kwakeithel, with good amount of water. Call it the impact of the increasing human population, but today there are no Khongbans along this said road stretch. It is the same story in other localities too where all the Khongbans have dried up with no running water. What is left of the Khongbans is nothing than a small nullah today.
Ponds at the compound of each and every household was common in Imphal and the adjoining areas, but today it is hard to find a household which has a pond. Likewise there are community ponds at almost every leikai but today most of the community ponds too have been left unattended. The Khongbans, the pond at each household, the community ponds etc are all indications that Manipur receives good rainfall every year. But with the changing climate one cannot afford to solely rely on the rain to provide the much needed water to every family. Bottled water is increasingly being relied upon and for those who can afford it, it is private water tankers which can be hired for a price. But if care is not taken there may come a time when even the private water tankers may not be able to supply water. After all the private water tankers too collect the water from a source and if the source dries up then it means no water for the people. Harvesting rain water then is one answer to tackle the shortage of water during the lean time. Let houses be built in such a way that rain water can be harvested and for this let the Government come forward and offer designs and suggestions to the people on how to collect the rain water hygienically. A policy will need to be drafted to conserve and harvest rain water and it is for the Government to consult the experts in this field. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has touched the right subject and this initiative should be noted. If it was toilets in every household in the first innings of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister then this time it seems to be harvesting rain water.