Kolkata is going to host the First Internation River Congress from 27 to 29 December 2021 Some thoughts before the event to understand the issues in front of the civilization.
Kolkata, the capital of British India till 1911, used to be called London of the East nowadays. People started calling it Venice of the East just because of every year flood in the city. No matter how funny you try to brand a crisis, that does not put the problem behind the back. This International Rivers Congress will make a big difference in the area of informed decision-making about water management among stakeholders.
We made a discussion with the CMD of RankTech Solutions Pvt Ltd. Mr. Anil P. Kastuar with more than half-century of experience in Technology-driven solutions for human problems. He said,” this water crisis will erode the benefit of technology if not managed right away. We can not overlook nature and its laws. To reduce the carbon footprint, we introduced a few solutions to remove the travel requirements Zero for Retail by using VShop or MyDoctorRank for HealthCare for an initial consultation, Banking, etc. Our solution is digital and virtual world enabled hence use of fossil fuel is minimum for your daily needs. We need to innovate to reduce the impact on nature and develop us into the next level of civilization.” Very true all must think in this line. Managing rainwater and less use of groundwater will change a lot. Israel’s Technique of converting sea water to drinking water is a great way forward.
That rain is the source of all the freshwater of the earth and the strategy of retaining that rainwater was known to everyone so much now that the civilization of this country has been such a boon for thousands of years. People know it, but can’t always remember. As a result, there is a lot of disagreement about the management of water bodies, sometimes between the king and the king, sometimes between the king and the king, or even between the tenants. The division of the sea, the division of the river is a big issue, the division of the water body is also in dispute.
The desperate need for water is increasingly evident in every drought, in every dead river country, in the helplessness of every waterless pump. Yet sometimes any other apparent need is considered greater than water. And then there is the conflict between those who live on the shores of the water, those who sit far away and give more importance to other needs. Examples of this, near and far, are many.
Manipur’s 287 sq km Loktak Lake is not only the largest freshwater lake in northeastern India but also in the eastern Himalayas at an altitude of two and a half thousand feet. About thirty small and big streams came down from the hills on all four sides to supply water to Loktak. It is not possible for distant people to understand the importance of this lake in the financial, environmental, and cultural fields of Manipur. Many local families used this huge body of water to earn their livelihood. In the Gangetic region, like the Ganges, there was a traditional place of folklore in the mind and culture of the North-East, in pictures, poetry, ballads, films.
The then government thinks that there is such a huge water field ‘just lying there, it should be arranged to ‘use’ it. A paved road was built by dumping soil along the middle of the lake. The Takmu Water Sports Academy was inaugurated in 1999 to host the Asian Water Sports Competition. After that the entertainment system of the people who came from far away continued. But the lake and the zone are linked with Khuga River by the Ungamel channel, which used to maintain the life cycle of that huge but shallow water in winter and summer, was gradually destroyed due to the accumulation of excess water for water sports. Fish and other aquatic animals were reduced too. The livelihood of many people in that hilly area was to sell this fish-amacha, aquatic vegetables, other aquatic plants in the local market. They went unemployed. Then there is the black story of hydroelectricity with dams on the Imphal and other rivers that carry water to El Lake, and finally at the mouth of the Loktak. Losing their livelihood, losing their homes, helpless people were forced to cut down trees in the surrounding hills and sell them at the nearby market. Many people live on the wonder plant ‘Fundi’ floating in the lake. In the hope of the smallest fish throughout the day, the water should be sifted through a sieve. Today, Loktak is the name of a foul-smelling water body. The army is deployed to maintain its cleanliness.
The additional damage to nature was done by cutting down the trees around the area. This has added to the Carbon Foot Print and pollution level. The carbon sink became a carbon generator. Always development work is not good for the people experts advising development projects not understanding the impact on nature is like a drug addict enjoying the moment losing the future.
The story of Manipur’s 287 sq km Loktak Lake is still continuing worldwide. The then USSR and communist Rule made great development in USSR at the cost of nature too. The story is even more pathetic.
The largest freshwater lake in the world was the Ural Sea of Russia, called the Ural Sea. After the Russian Revolution, the country’s managers thought that the wheat that the elite ate was suitable for food for all. So the beginning is to increase the cultivation of wheat by excluding other local crops. The story of the victory of man over nature is being spread from country to country “Soviet Country”, “Soviet Women” etc magazine was the main channel of propaganda and Vostok published many books on that success story. Wheat is being grown in Siberia with huge irrigation. The rivers that flow through the region and join the Ural Lake, cut the canals with great effort and carry water from them to eat wheat. But for how many days? Between 1935 and 1970, the irrigation system collapsed. The riverbanks that brought water to the Urals, were heartbroken under the pressure of irrigation. In 1976, it was announced that Lake Ural had dried up in an unimaginable way.
The civilization of Mesopotamia was developed around Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It nourished Babilon and Iraq under these river banks, but the story of killing nature continued here too. The damage to the normal flow of rivers has led to the gradual death of Tigris in Shuko. International efforts have been made to keep the Euphrates to a minimum.
Before the Russian Revolution, before the Tsarist regime, who knows how long, maybe as long as human settlements have sprung up along this vast expanse of water, millions of people have spent their days fishing and farming around the lake. Along with the lake, those people also went to the ‘Collateral Damage’ book. Today, the lifeblood of that land knows the consequences of the drying up of that huge reservoir of freshwater.
Now look at our own country again and see the city of Bhopal and her Lake Road in Madhya Pradesh, near us, is semi-dry under the pressure of urbanization. Less than one-fourth of the city’s bus stand, post office, various works made the damage and main cause to left dry Bhopal.
Come back to West Bengal and see the Santragachi Huge water body was a source of migratory birds in the winters even three decades ago. But the development of a new railway station changed everything. Admittedly, there were no alternative spaces to the railway station. The bus stand adjacent to the station, the wide road, the shop everything necessary, no doubt. And in all these places but the swamp has not been filled, only its surroundings have changed in an inconvenient way for its existence. Or its water has been used for other purposes. And all this has been good for mass people, from this thought of the ruling party. Not to mention, there are some infallible laws of nature behind the formation and perpetuation of large water bodies. Any change in the rules regarding water flow and water speed will not be beneficial. On the other hand, in all these cases, it is important to take into account the views of the local people, if it is not just a matter of compensation. Because those people have become accustomed to the rules of their livelihood in accordance with the local natural order, it should not be wasted. The same seems to be true of other water bodies, including Rasikbill, Bhavadighi, Muradi, Baranti Lake, Saheb Bandh, Ranibandh, etc. There is no need to prove that water is life. Every reservoir is a blessing of nature. He has to be careful.
Similar damage has been done to the East Kolkata Swamps (Purbo Kolkata Bheri) creation of Salt Lake City has made enormous damage to the natural kidney of the City Kolkata. Late Dhruba Jyothi Ghosh Babu made some wonderful writeup on these water bodies too. His mammoth task leads to the saving of the remaining swamp at East Kolkata.
This is high time we must have an impact analysis group where we should include the locals and tribes to understand the folklore and their culture with connection to the water bodies. This will give a basis for historical evidence and the importance of that water body in and around that area. This is called Natural Anthropological evidence connected with Sociology, Social Anthropology.
This is true of any large body of water. Especially in states where the government insists on rainwater harvesting, it is hoped that stored water will always be a priority.
Disgustingly bad, when it comes to temporary disagreements in such cases, the direct light of the administration with the local people Instead of trying to make each other understand through chana, various political parties continue to try to create chaos by keeping narrow interests in mind. They have no sense of responsibility for protecting human life or natural resources. There is no way to remember that politics once meant a worldview.
Major Information source:
- জল যে জীবন সে কথা আর প্রমাণের দরকার হয় না – জয়া মিত্র
- “Man-made Flood” – Reason is Not only DVC water but the dying Kidney of Kolkata
- Kolkata will host the International River Congress from 27 – 29 December 2021 – IBG NEWS proud to be the Knowledge Partner