4. People drew a lot of water from the land, what was its ultimate result?

4When the underground water was almost exhausted, many problems cropped up. By 1990, i.e. in 43 years of independence, we successfully made all the uneven fields level and smooth. Now water neither collected in the level and smooth field nor seeped into the soil. Instead it gradually flowed into the sea.  Thus we put a full stop to the seepage and storage of water into the soil. But we did not stop drawing water from the land. Thousands of wells and bore wells were dug in the village which once had only 10 wells. Farmers continued drawing water from those wells with the help of submersible pumps. Alas! Everyone thought of obtaining water, but the important issue of water-management was totally brushed aside. Is it possible to withdraw money from the bank if we have no money deposited in the bank? Similarly we stopped the water from seeping into and getting stored under the soil but continued drawing thousand times greater quantity of water from the land!! How long can Mother Earth continue giving us water?

            By 1990 many states of the country had no underground water stored. What was its sad consequence?  The land dried up; villages disintegrated; villagers started moving to the city to earn their living. The cities did not remain unaffected by this migration. Slums developed in the cities, giving rise to disorder and chaos. Farmers, who could live in the village with respect and dignity, had to live the life of a poor, helpless labourer in the city. Rural development came to a pause and a number of questions arose. The Government had to supply drinking water both to the cities and villages by means of trains and tractors. The reality was far removed from Gandhiji’s beautiful imagination of rural progress. At last it was since 1990 that the Government as well as the intellectual, alert and concerned people of the country started caring about the very important issue of water-management. Thus we put a full stop to the seepage of water into the soil.