Farmers should switch to less water intensive crops, by growing millets in the place of crops like sugarcane and paddy. They must also embrace organic and bio-farming techniques to tackle water shortages in the future.
These proposals were made to confront the extremities of weather owing to global warming during a discussion organised by the Karnataka unit of Citizens’ Global Platform (CGP), Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and People’s Legal Forum, in Mysore on Thursday.
Climatic change concern is a policy issue. Average temperature of the State is set to increase by 1.5 degrees by 2030, altering climatic patterns. Projects of conserving water should be initiated by taking these aspects into view, said Muzaffar Assadi, Professor of Political Science, University of Mysore (UoM).
While asking people to ‘fear’ water shortage, as it would result in grievous consequences, Ravikumar, retired professor, said that there was a need to develop an awareness about water being a ‘resource of the community’.
“All water sharing models succeeded during drought,” he remarked, throwing light on methods such as using human urine and faeces as manure in agriculture. He said that such methods were being practiced by a few farmers in the State, including H D Kote in Mysore district.
K C Basavaraj, Professor of Economics, UoM, said that liberalisation of Indian economy had spelled doom for farmers in the country. He said that the number of farmers committing suicide was on a rise since the days of liberalisation.
Opposing government decisions to encourage Special Economic Zones (SEZ), Rajashekar Naikal of CGP, said that SEZ’s were being provided with subsidised electricity and water. These subsidies, in the wake of problems faced by the State, should be discontinued, he demanded.
The organisations also proposed an action plan for effective water management. Among the proposals of the plan are, giving impetus to organic and bio-farming to reduce carbon footprint, opposition to Special Economic Zones, opposing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, encouraging the growth of millets and steps to regulate over exploitation of perishable ground water resources.
The organisations, with elections looming, will also decide on a ‘people’s manifesto’, keeping conservation of nature and upliftment of farmers in mind.