Water conservation need of the hour

Primepost News Desk

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is right when he said that the government can’t stop farmers’ suicides in a day or two. Speaking on the second day of the debate on the agrarian crisis in Telangana on Wednesday, the Chief Minister had blamed the previous Congress and Telugu Desam governments for neglecting the farm sector in Telangana. What they had done, not done, was well documented and the Chandrababu Naidu government had to pay dearly for ignoring the interests of farmers in the undivided state.

What is to be done now to mitigate the woes of lakhs of farmers in the state is more important for KCR than throwing the blame on the previous governments. It’s true the present crisis, including mounting farmers’ suicides, is a cumulative effect of poor rainfall, debt burden, middlemen, fleecing rural lenders, bank loan problems, poverty, high cost of inputs, poor yields, low returns on investments, etc.

So, it’s not one or two factors that precipitate the crisis in the farm sector. Multiple factors and diverse reasons, often inexplicable, can hit both agricultural production and farmers. It is imperative that these factors are first identified and rectified.

KCR spoke of waiving Rs 17,000 crore loan arrears of 36 lakh farmers, resolving power problems, supplying seeds and fertilizers, completing ongoing irrigation projects and launching new ones and repairing and digging ponds to tide over water crisis. In other words, he listed short-term measures and long-term plans which will take years to materialize. To ask farmers to be patient until all these initiatives fructify is like asking a critical patient to wait until a life-saving drug arrives.

Reports suggest that Telangana has a 21 per cent deficit rainfall during south-west monsoon season. That means we have to brace for water shortage, including drinking water. With water tables going down throughout the state, the government has to plan for water conservation measures on a war footing — now.

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