People fight back

Delhi Harvesting

Centre goes for decentralisation


Enhancing public understanding

Initiating solutions

Spreading the good word

Youth for action

Agents of change


A quest for water

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Vol. 3                                         No. 4                               August 2001
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People speak

The incidents in Lava ka Baas generated a public outrage in both India and abroad. The numerous responses received for the information placed on CSE’s website clearly reveal that the people, in general are conscious of their rights and are able to relate their concerns with those of the people of Lava ka Baas. Some of the responses that CSE received:

“I think before planning for works of substantial investment, the likely legal hurdles should be taken into account. Since there is no sunset provision in Indian law, one can easily evoke a law passed by emperor Akbar, if it suits officers. If all legislative hurdles were cleared for people rights to manage their resources (even with the help of government) things would change much faster.”


“We need to force the governments at central and state levels to include community rights in the national water policy. The success of community efforts in the five adjacent stream basins of Alwar district, each having a catchment area of about of 500 square kilometres, has clearly demonstrated the capability of the community to optimally manage the water resources of a minor basin. You need to have a paani morcha for this specific issue in Delhi and selected state capitals."

R N Athavale

 “I cannot believe that an example for excellent water management is threatened by the state. In my class international students learn about them as the sign of hope. I pray that officials will refrain from working against a better future.”

Raif Otterpohl

“A suggestion from my side would be to ask the government authorities to pay back the amount spent on construction, Rs 8 Lakh and also assure regular water supply to the villagers, which in fact, is the state’s responsibility.”

Hemant Panchpor

 “The political oppression over water in America is not as intense, but the nature of the conflict is the same. We are working very hard on our regional water plan and hope to head off future disaster. We must struggle with the powers that be or they will destroy any hope of a future for people in our region. We must all get together and compare notes.”

Lynn Daniel

 “Public pressure usually works in such scenarios and the Shell incident in Nigeria is a good example. By starting an e-mail chain, the awareness on Lava ka Baas incident and the public disgust it has generated can be spread around, particularly among the international donor agencies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and others that are dealing with the Rajasthan government.”

Sim Khirid

“As a supporter of rainwater harvesting techniques, I feel that motivating the community to stand for their checkdam would be a very good move. I appreciate and fully support the efforts of Centre of Science and Environment in educating the people on the environmental issues."

R Srinivasa Padaki

Centre goes for decentralisation

Despite spending more than Rs 32,000 crore on rural drinking water supply under the Ninth plan, the Central government has not been able to reduce the number of water-short villages. On the contrary, the number of villages with a water supply of less than 10 litres per capita per day, is on the rise. On July 9, 2001 the union rural development minister, Venkaiah Naidu called for the centre to increase its commitment to rainwater harvesting by decentralising the administrative processes, in the hope that these new strategies will succeed where other centralised schemes have failed.

The ministry of rural development is now testing its decentralisation plan - termed ‘sector reform’ - on 70 million rural Indians. Starts in early 2000, sector reform shifts control over funding and administration of rural water supply projects from the state to the district or even village level. It is being tried out for three years in 63 districts, at a cost of Rs 1,900 crores.

India’s centrally-sponsored rural water supply programmes have tried for decades to bring reliable drinking water supply to all the nation’s villages. But even as states have implemented projects to provide water to the ‘partially-covered’ and ‘not covered’ villages, the number of those problem villages have often grown, not shrunk. The ministry’s numbers for partially covered and not covered villages now stand at 1,66,832 and 20,000 respectively, though independent surveys indicate that the actual numbers may be far higher.

Copyright CSE  Centre for Science and Environment