Chennai: Asserting that both flooding during monsoon and drought in summer are “preventable disasters” Puducherry Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi, while assuring to make the Union Territory free from inundation, as witnessed in December 2015, has directed the administration not to issue pattas for waterbodies.
“This morning I issued orders not to issue pattas unless the officials certify the land is not a waterbody… we have about 45 days to go for the monsoons and we are engaged in a massive operation to clean canals and we are using machines, not men, to desilt the canals and waterbodies,” she said on Monday night while addressing her first public meeting outside the Union Territory since she took over as Lt. Governor about nine weeks ago.
Giving away the Dr M.S. Swaminathan award for environment protection 2016 at a function organised by the Rotary Club of Madras East, to Dr David Bergvinson, director general of ICRISAT, Hyderabad, she said, the population has been allowed to grow without infrastructure and people have been made dependent on doles. "Since our focus is something else, we are unable to prevent flooding and drought — obviously due to lack of city planning, long term perspective and lack of accountability,” she emphasised.
Bedi appealed to the Rotarians to join the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in sensitising the people against open defecation. “You can help achieve this like you made India polio-free,” she said and the Rotarians responded with a thunderous applause.
Accepting the award, Dr. David called for a social movement to overcome challenges for enhancing food production and helping 60 per cent of India’s population who are youth to judiciously use water. “India needs to double its food production and address the issue of declining per capita space and malnutrition. Climate change could alter the dimensions of farming and tax existing water resources, which are depleting. “We need watershed development for rural areas and for urban areas too,” he added.
Prof M.S. Swaminathan, founder MSSRF, said India should explore opportunities for dry farming as climate change may affect the livelihood security and environment security.