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 Kerala- Potable Water Crisis In The Man-made Calamity  

Date of Publish - Friday, 17th August 2018

The south Indian state of Kerala is facing a massive humanitarian crisis with record flooding across territories and unprecedented loss of life. Unusually high rainfall since the beginning of August has precipitated the statewide flooding with environmentalists blaming poor policy decisions and human activities for the disaster.

Most of the damage has occurred in a region once classified as Ecologically-Sensitive Zones by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, also known as the Gadgil Committee. The head of the committee, Mr. Madhav Gadgil, respected ecologist and founder of the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has said stated before regional media channels. He said that irresponsible environmental policy is to be blamed for the recent floods and landslides in Kerala and called it a "man-made calamity".

He further revealed that the committee report to protect the resources with the cooperation of local self-governments and people were rejected and pointed out that quarrying is another major reason for the mudslides and landslides. Other environmentalists agreed that the Gadgil Committee recommendations could have protected the sensitive Western Ghat region and blamed extensive quarrying, rampant construction and illegal forest land acquisition as major reasons for the flooding disaster.

Meanwhile, arranging for adequate water for the 300000 marooned people housed in 1740 relief camps spread out over 14 districts is emerging as a big challenge for the government agencies. Estimates of water requirements per person have been calculated at 3 litres for drinking, 4 litres for cooking and 20 litres for washing. The per day requirement works out to nearly 8 million litres, with over 2 million litres needed even if washing requirements were excluded. Over a period of 10 days, these work out to around 80 million litres of water to sustain the people housed in the relief camps.

Kerala has suffered immense damage to infrastructure, with preliminary estimates pointing to billions of rupees in economic losses. With crop fields inundated in the agricultural belt of the state, farmers face a bleak future and it will take years for ‘God’s Own Country’ to recover. Environmentalists would agree that restoration of the green cover and protection of Ecologically-Sensitive Zones will be crucial in the recovery process and to lessen the chances of recurrence in the future.

Author :
Rituraj Phukan


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