Monday, July 16, 2007

Punjab Jal Saakshrta Yatra
Punjab Water Literacy Yatra -2007
Organised by:
Kheti Virasat Mission, Jaitu

Once the land of abundance, affluence, prosperity and five rivers, Punjab is passing through a severe water crisis. Punjab is now one of the most ecologically devastated, and financially crumbled and civilizationally fractured part of the globe. The green revolution has taken away the age-old ecological equilibrium, the civil society systems of sustainability, wisdom and livelihood. Punjabi society has been driven into debt, displacement and death trap.

There is a Water-Chaos in Punjab. We can see farmers committing suicides due to failure of pumps, neighbors in farms killing each other over irrigation water. Women are compelled to fetch water on their heads from as far as 3 kms. Majority of people have no option but to consume unsafe drinking water

The water crisis has made villages insolvent and compelled villagers to put their village on sale. The situation is almost the same in whole of Malwa region. The severe water crisis is also becoming a social stigma in some villages.

Punjab is fast exhausting its ground water aquifers. Punjab has very high concentration of sodium carbonate and salinity in tube well water. Nearly 57% of ground water is unfit for irrigation. The large part of ground water of Punjab has high concentration of contaminants. The geo-physical analysis of ground water of Punjab shows that it contains high levels of Fluorine, Nitrates, Sulphate, Sodium, Selenium, cadmium, chromium and even nickel.

Ordinary people are under compulsion to take loan for purchasing expensive water purifiers fearing deadly diseases like cancer. Providing safe water has become money-minting business in the land of five rivers. This has resulted in deep cultural impacts besides socio-economic stress in society. The impending water crisis in Punjab has not only eclipsed its agriculture and economy but also ruined the ecology, health, life style and social fabric of the state. It has severely destroyed the water heritage and cultural value system. One can find hundreds of examples across the state in this regard. The stress and strain due to water crisis is taking the Punjab into unending series of suicides.

Punjab has to evolve a strategy, action plan, water policy and most important its water vision to save its existence. We are on cross roads; we have to take Punjab out of this devastation phase.

Conserving water is like conserving life. But how this will happen? Who has to take initiative? And why the Punjabi society has become so ignorant about water? How the sacred relation between water and society has being lost?

These questions have to be answered before evolving any conservation strategy and action plan. The communities must be recognized as the custodian of water and its involvement is a necessity for the success of any rescue mission. The crisis has to be tackled holistically. The vision, the approach, the strategy and action has to be holistic. Punjab needs a participatory community action for water literacy, education, intervention and conservation.

To build this initiative Kheti Virasat Mission, a movement for ecological rejuvenation of Punjab is undertaking a three day Punjab Jal Saakshrta Yatra in water crisis areas of Punjab. This Yatra series has been conceived as a part of Water Literacy Campaign.

The three day first phase of Yatra starts on 18 July from Jhok Sarkari village of Faridkot district and will conclude on 20 July at Lehragaga block of Sangrur district. The Yatra will cover water crisis areas of Abohar, Faridkot, Muktsar, Bathinda, Mansa and Sangrur.

Eminent Water Warrior and recipient of Magsaysay Award Shri Rajinder Singh and ecological activist Shri Gopal Krishna will join the Yatra.

You are requested to join this initiative.

18th to 20th July 2007

MAIN VILLAGES TO BE COVERED DURING THE YATRA : Jhoke Sarkari , Bihlewala , Dod ,Distt. Faridkot , Burra Gujjar , Chhapianwali & Muktsar - Distt. Muktsar , Arniwala and Tahliwala Distt. Firozpur , Bathinda , Harkishanpura , Chathewala, Jajjal & Mall Singh Wala – Distt. Bathinda , Lehragaga , Lahilkalan & Bhutalkalan - Distt. Sangrur .


18 July


19 July


20 July