good shower too little too late for farmers
By Joydeep Gupta
Sohna (Haryana), July 28 (IANS) The season's first good shower
came too late for Mohan Singh's rice nursery where the saplings
are dead. His bajra crop is ruined too, as his pump could
not raise water from the falling aquifer below his farm. He
hopes his sugarcane patch will revive now.
Monday's shower marginally reduced the 55 percent monsoon
rainfall deficit in Haryana's Gurgaon district where this
village is located, but it will not be enough to get Mohan
and his neighbours out of debt.
"I can do nothing for the rice any more," Mohan
told IANS while he worked feverishly to chop out small channels
so that as much of the rainwater would get to his sugarcane
patch as possible.
"It's been more than 40 days since the rice saplings
were planted; so even if some of them are alive, they are
too big to be transplanted to the main farm," Mohan explained.
"It's a complete loss."
So is his bajra patch as the coarse grain does need water
throughout its growth cycle though it does not need a lot
"I could have grown my bajra even with this low rainfall
if I had been able to irrigate my patch a little," Mohan
rued. "But the water table fell below the point from
which I could raise water with my pump.
"I'm already in debt this year. I could not borrow more
to dig a deeper bore. The water just vanished. It must be
due to the water these huge pumps are taking away for the
new houses here."
Sohna village is now almost on the border of new realty developments
that have spread from Gurgaon, the town adjacent to the Indian
capital. In the absence of water supply from the municipal
authorities, real estate developers have been forced to sink
deep tubewells and powerful pumps for residents. The result
is an overall fall in the area's water table.
Mohan's neighbours who do have deeper borewells and pumps
attached to them said it did not help. "There was no
electricity most of the time, so we could not run the pumps,"
said Narain Singh.
"The (real estate) developers have huge generators, so
they can run their pumps all the time. We'll not be able to
repay our loans this year. There's nothing we can do. God
knows how we'll feed our families."
(Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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