Mumbai underworld set to take over distribution of Water ? ?

So the papers are full of news that the ground water table in northern India is being seriously depleted, and so it threatens destroy our agricultural output. Of course while the media may have just caught up with this story, common people have known this for 20 years now. Ever since the agricultural revolution was based on tube wells in the 1950″s, ground water is being steadily depleted.
In my youth, my Grandfather used to have a vegetable garden in Delhi, to which the water source was a hand pump. It took just one downward stroke to bring the water gushing out. My sister and I had endless joy bathing underneath the hand pump, and munching away at the vegetables in the garden. I don’t think our Grandfather liked us very much. He was constantly shooing us away from his beloved vegetables !
Over the years it was more and more difficult to suck water out of the ground however hard you tried, and today the hand pump stands alone in a dried up vegetable patch as a monument to an ancient time when water was plentiful,
None of us would have believed that water would run out on us, but it has. We have disrespected something that all cultures, in some form or the other, have worshipped. And now it is gone, and we still are too lazy, or have too much inertia to do something about it. Only when the taps run dry will we know the worth of water.
Problem is that all the media and the policy makers and most of us are basically urban dwellers, believing that somehow it is the government’s responsibility to ensure we have running water in our taps or pipes. It is, and bad water management is one of the worst crimes of successive Indian governments over the last three decades. But we too are to blame.
Do not believe that a lack of water in the agriculture sector is not affecting us in the Urban sectors. Other than the obvious conversation about food prices, some of the greatest migrations to urban cities over the last 10 years has been due to collapse of rural communities as agriculture is unsustainable due to disappearance of ground water which supports almost 60% if Indian Agricultural output.
We are growing into unsustainable overloaded Mega Cities now, where the infrastructure is collapsing and taps are running dry. How long before Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai run out of Water ? Where will the people go then ? People learn to live with no food for 3 days at a time sometimes, but no one can go through a day without water…….

……The other day I drove down Gurgaon in Delhi to a place called Sona. When in college, Sona was a little village that we used to sneak away with our girl friends – secure in the knowledge that no one would ever find out what our generation really got up to. But now Delhi had extended itself to Sona with miles and miles of huge apartment complexes – mostly empty. Gone were the lush green farms and the happy faces of villagers, and the sugar cane fields from which we regularly stole a few stalks of ‘Ganna’ to chew on. Gone were the little villages where you could buy some of the most delicious ‘Gur”.
My first thoughts were : “Where’s the Water going to come from ?” I asked and was told that the few buildings that were occupied were getting their water by Tankers from outlying villages and tube wells. So the City is sucking the agricultural areas dry, cannibalising the agricultural sector,and compounding the problem. Lakhs and lakhs of villagers, having lost any hope of surviving, move into the cities looking for a livelihood.
No, if we are not careful, the social upheaval that will occur in our cities, the riots that will break out will lead the cities into civil war, and in the midst of the chaos and break down in law and order, the underworld will take over the distribution of water.
As it has already in so many parts of Mumbai, where it controls the supply of Water tankers and where it controls illegal connections of pipes.

16 thoughts on “Mumbai underworld set to take over distribution of Water ? ?

  1. This man in the water hes looking right at me
    This man in the water a reflection of were I used to be
    This man in the water no freinds or family
    This man in the water all he has is me
    This man in the water crys but makes no sound
    This man in the water condemed and bound
    This man in the water will surley drown
    This man in the water hes gasping for air
    This man in the water is my dispair
    This man in the water takes his final breath
    This man in the water floats in his death

  2. Too much damage already, the juggernaut already rolling.
    Can you stop it?
    Some changes at the personal level, yes.
    But across the country? No. Not enough.
    In the Buddhist caves in kanheri you can still see the storage tankas.
    We’ll pay the price for forgetting history.

  3. But if climate change is a fight, it’s also an opportunity. It’s a chance to attract investments for cleaner engines and energy-efficient buildings. Conservation and Saving water is also our chance to make this valuable resource stay precious and make all realize its worth. Many apartment bldgs in Bombay have resolved to water harvesting, many NGO’s like WOTR are doing par excellent work across India in ensuring sustainability in villages. We need some sensitivity and some minor modifications in our personal attitudes to be able to make this planet a better place to live in

  4. May be ur post will give understanding to some mumbi politician why mumbai is overcrowding
    and what is the fundamental solution to decrowd it.
    If people in villages will not suffer due to climate baised irrigation and drinking water. Will they live their native place and set out to unknown places…..

  5. First, this post reminds of movie Chinatown (1974). Then, I suddenly thought that water has now become commodity and nationalization of water resource is necessary to prevent its usage by MNC companies. As long as people don’t understand the long vision about ours mission to save water, effort will be wasted. This year drought is forcing us to think about water, next year a good rain will sublime this water saving projects in pended plans. The purchasing power of rising middle class ensures that distilled water came to their house for drinking for worth few rupees, nothing gotta change. Why ? As the vocal middle-class has abandoned places like government hospital and schools, nobody takes up these issues as newspapers and mass media only listen to this class of the software techie, the BPO guy, a businessman or an IIM graduate. It is this particular section of urban class, which constitutes less than 5% of the population, that gets disproportionate coverage. Shekhar Sir, we live in dystopic society, just not accepting it is veiling behind the curtains of hope and imagining Orwell’s version as the ieal bad situation..

  6. One used to hear about interlinking of rivers a few years back. Wonder what happened to that.

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    @Kavi Deepak Sharma

  8. I would love to have seen Sona at the time, sounds like a colourful and sweet memory.
    Regarding water and the illegal connections of pipes…
    This made me think of a Colombian film called “Como el gato y el Ratn” (“Like Cat and Mouse”) that deals in a semi-comedy / semi-drama way with the illegal connections of electricity in slums. The complexity of human relations serves or thwarts the access of people to their basic needs.
    An underground control of water supply seems scary and unacceptable indeed.

  9. Sir,
    Considering this platform is a freedom of expression, I can boldly state that BMC (Mumbai Municipal Corporation ) in itself has been using WATER as a tool for Vote Bank. Both before and after each election Ward by Ward and area by area. We can read many meanings out of this not withstanding tankers and the contracts and licences allotted to them.
    Water scarcity as you always say and mention is going to make a lot of social changes.
    Vinod Agarwal – Had an opportunity to pump water from hand pumps…LOL

  10. Water management along with many other basic things is an unknown subject in India. Do we capture rain water via drains, rivulets, lakes and tanks? No! Which Indian city ensures that all the canals in the city are well maintained? What about ensuring that drainage from homes is treated before re-using the water? These are all alien subjects to us Indians.
    Having lived in the west for so long, I am amazed at the effort that US central, state, local and city governments take to conserve, preserve and manage water. Its a science in itself. The areas around San Francisco for example have a huge number of tanks, canals, lakes that are well protected. These collect the little rain water that falls in California. I feel that the Indian monsoons drop a huge deal more in one rain fall. The canals and the surrounding areas are well managed. Usually there are tracks next to the canals that are used by joggers and bikers here with a lot of greenery. Drain management is huge and the natural tanks where this is done attract a large number of birds which in itself is a marvelous sight to see if you can bear the stink. And finally every home has a water meter and so you are forced to conserve otherwise you end up paying. Where does India stand compared to all this?

  11. Hello Mr. Kapur
    Thanks for the insight. It is indeed a very legitimate concern and it may not be too long before something like this materializes.
    In fact sustainable development and co-existence with mother nature are alien concepts for the average Indian middle class Joe, and thats no surprise since India is just waking up to economic prosperity (at least in the bigger metros). People are so preoccupied cashing in on this new Indian era, that powerful elements such as media, corporations and politicians are doing little to educate our people about ramifications of this current ‘development’ trend.
    Ironically the solution to the problem lies with Joe himself! Why? Because Joe is the consumer and the system always adapts to meet the needs of the consumer. In order to trigger such a large scale transformation, there is serious need for people with your kind of influence to create this awareness.
    Please do keep writing and questioning….

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