And the problem is only exacerbating with the intensifying heat wave as mercury is soaring up. Heat wave has already claimed many lives in the affected regions.
A case study from Beed in Maharashtra came today where a Class 5th student died while fetching water from hand-pump. According to her family members, she was helping her family to get water and had repeated trips to the hand-pump where she collapsed. Beed in Maharashtra is one of the worst drought affected districts in Maharashtra (and India). In fact, we can say it is another Latur of Maharashtra.
Rather, we should say there are many Laturs in Maharashtra that need comprehensive government intervention to win over this tide of nature’s fury.
But how can we take the government seriously to the extent that all will be set right henceforth – because this nature’s fury is man-made as well?
And to add to the drought of political trust that we have towards our political fraternity, there are continued acts of insensitivity by some of our senior-most politicians – chief-ministers and ministers.
Now, it may be true that these ministers and chief ministers may not be aware that thousands of litres of water was wasted making helipads for them or in makings roads dust-free for them but when it comes to political branding based on symbolism, no one goes into the nitty-gritty of what lies beneath. It’s all about what looks on surface.
And on surface, the message that went was that the political class was not acting proactively to end people’s misery but was rather forced to act because of electoral compulsions – after Eknath Khadse (senior Maharashtra minister), Siddaramaiah (Karnataka chief minister), Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh chief minister) and Pankaja Munde (again a senior minister from Maharashtra) were seen wasting water or exploiting their visits to drought hit areas as ‘drought tourism’.
Much has been written about drought in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region with consecutive years of drought. The crisis is also deepening in Karnataka with drought now spread to as many as 19 districts of the state. The politicians should take a cue from Pankaja Munde selfie incident that was otherwise a perfectly normal human response but for a human crisis perpetrated by drought. Pankaja Munde would never have imagined the incident would be painted like this.
But here it is. And so are the helipad incidents related to Eknath Khadse and Akhilesh Yadav or a dust-free road for Siddaramaiah!
In the season of India’s worst drought, it may also lead to a drought of political trust among common men and it should be a clear and present danger for our political class – as every coming year this or that state assembly election or some bye-election or some local body election is due.