"If someone had collected teardrops of all of us, our irrigation problems would have been solved" A farmer from the vidharba region had once said to a reporter. Vidharbha is notoriously called the suicide capital of India. .It is also a biological mystery as to how the people of this intensely water scarce region secrete so much of tears. 'Great' leader Ajit Pawar gave a novel solution to the water woes of vidharba. He said " Lets all urinate in the dams" ( I pray to god that he gets dysuria and every time he pees it burns).
Recent protests by farmers in karnataka when they blocked major highways leading to Bengaluru brought to the fore water problems in our own state. Our farmers might be lacking in land, credit, fertilizers, seeds, water, support prices etc, but one thing they have is highways that they can block. This is at least the case with the farmers of south Karnataka. Their unlucky counterparts of North Karnataka do not have even that. If they block Kushtagi- Kalburgi highway it would make hardly any difference to anyone. CM Siddu would not lose even a wink of sleep.
On a serious note, these recent protests poses a serious dilemma among our policy framers. Farmers are demanding the expeditious completion of Yettinahole project- which in a nutshell is to block the west flowing river of Netravati and through lift irrigation divert it to the water scarce regions of Kolar and chickballapur. This is only a part of the comprehensive irrigation project recommended by G.S. Paramashivaiah report, which goes on to suggest the diversion of 11 more rivers flowing through the water surplus regions to the water scare region. All sounds hunky dory. But here lies the catch. All these rivers flow in the most ecologically fragile region of the Western Ghats( It is a biological hotspot and also extremely critical for the survival of the entire human race in the Indian subcontinent). For this reason Yettinahole is still to get a 'green' signal from National Green Tribunal( Which is like a supreme court for all environmental litigations in India).
This classical case of farmer interests on one side and ecological interests on the other , has tore even the 'left' political groups asunder. Our brothers from the left would normally jump to brand anything and everything as anti-poor and anti-environment. ( Just like our brothers from 'right' brand everything and everyone as anti national). Now even they are confused as to what stand they must take.
So what must one do? One thing all the stakeholders ( farmers , civil society, journalists, policy makers) must understand is that there is no quick fix to this tactical conundrum. It takes leaders with farsightedness, vision and patience to find a golden mean. Of coarse it is clear that CM Siddu is not at all equipped with any of these traits.
This problem hence is a 'fertile ground' ( pun intended) for future leaders.
It remains to be seen as to which green will win this battle- Green of the environment or the Green of the raitha sangha. Although it seems More likely that both the greens will lose the battle.