The edit Exporting water (FE, April 18) rightly raises the issue of growing the wrong crops at the wrong places unmindful of the grave consequence of depleting water table. A strong example of links between drought and sugarcane may be found in the Solapur District in the Bhima Basin, which is facing the worst of droughts today. Live storage of Ujani Dam is zero and drinking water is being taken from dead storage, even as Solapur and 400 villages depend on Ujani for drinking water. Drinking water supply has become a severe problem. Hundreds of villages and blocks have been declared drought-affected. Nearly 1000 tankers have been plying, and there is a near exodus of stricken communities to urban areas. Over-exploitation of ground water is another concern. At present, there are many wells pumping water with free power supply, provided by the government. This has been depleting ground water, while encouraging wastage of water in many states. As a result, the water table in the country is dipping every year by 0.4 m. In many coastal areas, there has been heavy intrusion of sea water, making fertile agricultural lands unfit for cultivation.
MM Gurbaxani, Bangalore
Banking on strength
In the backdrop of the granting of banking licences to IDFC and Brandhan, columnist Madan Sabnavis has wonders "Which way will the two new banks go" (FE, April 18). They have their own methods, infrastructure set up and all that. But they will have to function within the rules and regulations of RBI. Bandhan, the MFI, would have a good spread across the country and can take care of the priority-lending requirement with ease. But it will have to introduce changes in deposit making and adopt mainstream lending along with microlending. Similarly, IDFC will have to look at retail banking, an area completely new to it. It could still lend to infrastructure projects, other corporate ventures, etc, but it will have to look at household deposits and loans for individual account-holders. The two new banks have very different sets of skill that they can use advantageously. In this context, your editorial What 100 cities" (FE, April 18), referring to the BJP manifesto is relevant. The changes that the new government may bring remain to be seen.