Saffron Green Agenda

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Buoyed after winning its first ever seat in the last assembly elections, the BJP has now turned the massive water crisis into a wily political weapon

M RAJASEKHARA PANICKER

M RAJASEKHARA PANICKER

The author is an Editor, Chithi Monthly magazine published in Malayalam since November, 2014. He is a senior journalist who was with The New Indian Express for more than 30 years and was Senior Editor, The Sunday Indian, published in 14 languages for six years. He had fought against the authoritarian regime of the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi.

Come June and July later this year, and God’s Own Country will see roughly 765 mm and 855 mm of rain over the two monsoon months respectively. But it will all get drained out into the Arabian Sea within 44 hours, and Kerala will be left parched. The drought scare is very real this year, and it is not just the east-west lay of the land Western Ghats in the east and Arabian Sea to the west that is alone responsible for this. The fact remains that Kerala’s soil has lost its capacity to retain the water.

God, it seems, is annoyed with his own country, for vast tracts of land being gobbled by tourism infrastructure to meet the massive spurt in demand. Construction works have taken away nearly half of the state’s forests of 9.4 lakh hectare. That means about four lakh hectares are gone.

Deforestation and dams have damned the Nila River, which is now extensively dry. Nila is said to have groomed the culture of south Malabar area of Kerala. The 209 km-long Nila, also called Bharathappuzha River, has 11 reservoirs on it, exacerbating the water shortage problem.

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