Saturday January 20, 2018

’40 percent people in India may not have water to drink by 2030′ (March 22 is World Water Day)

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Ruwa Shah

Forty percent of India’s population may not have drinking water by 2030, if the water crisis in the country is not met seriously, a study has warned.

With the country facing a grave water crisis and lack of water conservation, the availability of potable water and groundwater has decreased over the years which would result in severe situation in the country after a decade, said an activist for water conservation on the eve of World Water Day (March 22) observed to create awareness about water-related issues and for action to deal with the global water crisis.

“By 2030, 40 percent of the total population in the country will not have drinking water if the situation remains same,” Jal Jan Jodo Abhiyan’s national convenor Sanjay Singh told the agencies, quoting a research published recently by 2030 Water Resource Group (WRG).

“The ground water is depleting, the small tributaries have dried up to 90 percent and the flow of rivers has reduced by 60-65 percent. This will lead to a severe situation in the coming years reducing water availability to a great extent,” he added.

He also said that the per capita demand has increased whereas the availability is very less. In fact, a report on ground water published by PRS Legislative Research –a non-governmental organisation — says: “Due to increasing population, the national per capita annual availability of water has reduced by 15 percent from 2001 to 2011.”

It also said that India uses almost twice the amount of water to grow crops as compared to China and the US.

“The gap between the availability and demand is increasing at a greater pace. Cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and other metropolitan cities consume water in huge quantities due to changed lifestyle of people. This must be looked into,” Singh told the agencies.

He also said that the efforts done by the government were not enough to meet the crisis.

South Asia Network on Dam, Rivers and People coordinator Himanshu Thakkar says water crisis in the country is multidimensional and is aggravating fast because of various factors including mismanagement of the resource.

He anticipates big problems based on the water crisis looming large in the country if the situation continues.

“Ground water is the lifeline of the country which is depleting very fast. Water is part of the ecological system as every living thing on earth needs water so if not dealt with properly the perennial water crisis may lead to more serious problems like food crisis, livelihood crisis, social conflicts,” Thakkar told the agencies.

He said that social conflicts based on water crisis have already started in the country. The tension between Haryana and Punjab over Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal project and conflicts in Marathwada region of Maharashtra over water are the latest examples.

“In terms of the water crisis in India things have now come to such a pass that a district collector in Latur district in Maharashtra had to implement section 144 to avoid clashes between people due to the water crisis,” Thakkar told the agencies.

Blaming the government, in general, being the major contributor towards the crisis, Thakkar said the government machinery was solely responsible for failing in water management.

“Government is responsible for the water crisis in terms of mismanagement. The government does not involve people in the management of water. This year is a drought year so the problem has increased manifold but the efforts of the government does not seem sufficient to deal with the crisis,” he said.

About the water crisis in Delhi, he said that mismanagement on the part of governments can be seen easily as in February, Jat protesters took over Munak canal in Haryana stopping water supply to the national capital and it took over a fortnight to deal with the consequences.

Ruwa Shah can be contacted at ruwa.s@ians.in and Ashish Mishra can be contacted at ashish.m@ians.in)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.