By M.C. Linthoingambee
Air, water, land and soil forms the basis of survival of all human beings. And if any in the list goes awry, we will only be trying to shine light on barren lands. While we wait and sit alongside the edge hoping and praying for rain in Manipur, the government initiatives to avail of water to the people is simply not enough to cope up with the large amount of water shortage. It is indeed too late of an answer at the end moment and it is perhaps time to initiate the use of effective measures of water storage if such shortage should repeat itself once again. If ever things turn so ugly as to drown us to the reality of water shortage all around then we would have to turn nomadic in search of a little water source. It could be one of the strongest calamity in the present day.
We have long been hearing this phrase over and over again, “Water, water everywhere but not a single drop to drink”. Perhaps it is time to realize and feel the consequences of being stranded at sea or the ocean amongst the salt water. It would turn out to be total roadkill if it continued. The situations cannot be compared but at the state where the largest freshwater lake in India exists, the people are left with the consequences of a drought if things persists in its usual state. Even if we wanted to, we can hardly value water at a price whereby it is becoming difficult to even avail of everyday drinking water. When we awake to nature’s warning of a drought, one wonders if we had indeed began with the practicality of rain water harvesting long ago then would the results be the same. Would we have been left with more water for use if we had done so before?
In the channel of exercising effective governance, water comes under the backdrop of a state authority therefore it is the duty of the State to govern its people with a certain conduct ethic on its water sector. For constructing a certain framework law for governing water, the Ministry of Water Resource has referred to the Terms of Reference while stating that: “Even while it is recognized that States have the right to frame suitable policies, laws and regulations on water, there is a felt need to evolve a broad over-arching national legal framework of general principles on water to lead the way for essential legislation on water governance in every State of the Union and devolution of necessary authority to the lower tiers of government to deal with the local water situation. Such a framework law must recognize water not only as a scarce resource but also as a sustainer of life and ecology. Therefore, water needs to be managed as a community resource held, by the state, under public trust doctrine to achieve food security, livelihood, and equitable and sustainable development for all.” While we all have the basic right to attain water it is almost impulsive to regulate ground breaking rules to regulate and create a framework law to settle all matters of territorial water disputes in case such situations arise. We should not leave the authority to decide for our waters to the Centre completely, but work to protect and provide water to the people. The fundamental rights views the paradigm of giving equal right for all people but if we project the idea of only providing water for rich homes who can afford to buy packaged water while others struggle with the idea of thirst. This is certainly not the correction we intend to preach. While we leave it on nature to decide the future of our problem, it is time to preserve for the present.
From the needless evils of scarcity, to water becoming stale under cemented grounds we are in dire need to construct a board to help scare away ill-water therapy. Pollution has filled the once lush green fresh water rivers into dumping grounds. With the Pollution Control Board existing there are real help into cleaning away and penalising polluters. On hopes to construct a place pollution free amongst various awareness, we need a certain authority to discipline and restrict the use of pollutants.
There is a recent trend of making water available in ponds from one locality to another but are these water fit for use or tested with the ISI mark and deemed assurances for drinking. Even with the coherent request by the Imphal Municipal Council we add on to polluting our environment all over. This is not the expected inter-generational equity we plan to uplift for the future. Till the time that we humans are able to create water for large scale and long term use, we must save and cherish it. This is the value of water, which gives us the gift of life.