Tackling urban thirst

Tackling urban thirst

Temples, particularly the shrines of centuries vintage, built by anonymous munis and renowned thinkers credited with philosophical works marked by spiritual ideologies that have endured to this day on the banks of rivers or in their vicinity is common sight in all regions of the country. Karnataka hosts a large number of riverside temples besides some built in mountainous terrains, such as the shrines at Melukote in Mandya district and Biligiri Rangana Hills in Chamarajanagar district. The system of setting apart a stipulated area of land to raise food crops exclusively to serve as a source of produce for the routine worshipping schedules also endured for long until the Land Reforms Act of the 1960s. Thus, the devout were assured of water and food all the year round, except during occasional droughts. In a total contrast, one is at a loss to see pragmatism in creating cities that are currently virtual overcrowded dens. Food may be pouring into them, never mind the rising costs to consumers, but water?

Kempe Gowda, credited with creating what is currently identified as Bengaluru is also said to have marked its boundary. What has happened to his thoughtful plan over the period since his days is there for all to experience. The city has long past crossed the liveability norms with no signs of the metropolis averting a demographic disaster, apart from facing an impending water famine.  So far, so good.

Mysuru, which has lost its past image as a city hosting residents with a laid-back outlook and an ethos of not getting tempted by glitz-glamour of modernity, is currently in the august company of hundreds of cities across the country witnessing a crazy pace of raising multi-storeyed structures for residential as well as business purposes. The agencies in this sector are popularly called Developers, a brazen misnomer. In the absence of a system of regulating this kind  of development, the cities are home to residents who are themselves the agents of polluting air by generating excessive emissions, domestic residue in mountainous proportions, cluttering the roads and streets with automobiles and so on, most importantly resulting in unprecedented pressure on the government of the day to supply adequate drinking water.

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Without giving the impression of treating the issue of quenching urban thirst (for water) lightly, one is prompted to recall the expression “Every problem has a solution; if there is no solution, there is also no problem.” The urbanites have their task cut out to prove the expression right. Or else, they have to concede the problem and its consequences.

October 3, 2017

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