(Article) Water, Drought and Livelihoods in Bundelkhand
It is worth noticing that the frequency of drought in Bundelkhand is increasing. The records from Government show a spell of one drought in 16 years during the 18th and 19th centuries in Bundelkhand. From 1968 to 1992, the region saw a drought in every five years. However in the 21st century the region has already suffered seven years of drought. There is not an iota of doubt that the drought conditions in Bundelkhand is largely due to ecological instability and inappropriate policies have led to its perpetuation.
The current situation calls for immediate action, rather an integrated action from the Government, the civil society and private sector. Though in the news for political reasons, the manifestation of dialogues in state assemblies and parliament have culminated in the announcement of relief packages, but is yet to demonstrate any achievements in changing the quality of life of people in Bundelkhand.
The state government of Uttar Pradesh revived the Bundelkhand Divisional Corporation in April, 2008 and constituted a Bundelkhand Special Area Development Authority in July, 2008. However, such bodies fail to deliver right services to the right people on right time because of lack of long term development perspective and short term political mileages. It is imperative that water is the top priority for Bundelkhand. “Water for all and always”, enumerating the sense of availability and accessibility with its sustainability must be the mandate of any developmental strategy for the area. Communities in Bundelkhand need to understand that they have as strong role as that of the Government and Civil Society in management of water and water resources. Therefore, appropriate institutional mechanisms need to be instituted at grassroots levels for management of water.
Author: Dr. Shailendra Nath Pandey
Source: Development Alternative Newsletter