It is not for nothing that water is called the ‘elixir of life’. Water is the basis of life. It is indispensable for terrestrial life and nothing can exist without it—“not humans, not animals, not birds, not plants, not food, not dreams”. It is an elemental truth that water is essential for us to drink, grow crops, make food, bath and do ablutions—and survive. It is no wonder that when it comes to sharing of water, people sub-consciously adopt a highly subjective approach and let their self-interest override all other considerations and concerns. It is sad that in Karnataka some people were easily provoked into acts of violence by their perception of denial of their fair share of water. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s modified order, the unruly mobs characteristically gave full vent to their feelings in acts of vandalised which cannot be condoned as ‘acts of catharsis’. Thankfully, their anger has subsided soon. In all honesty, the disconcerting mob vandalism has tarnished Bengaluru’s image as a cosmopolitan IT-hub. The city is no longer the place it used to be. The ‘water war’ between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu intensifies whenever the available water is inadequate to meet their needs. It has to be reckoned that fresh water tables are fast decreasing for a wide range of reasons from population growth, affluent water-hungry lifestyles, deforestation, reckless urbanisation, depletion of wetlands and unregulated sand-dredging to pollution. Further, the strain on rivers and groundwater reserves appears to be a fall-out of climate change aggravated by carbon dioxide emissions. Being swayed by emotion serves no purpose. It hardly eases the water-stress or resolves the dispute. Self-serving politicians who have a vested political interest in keeping the dispute a festering sore cannot be relied on to rise above parochialism and ‘regional prejudice’ and reach an amicable settlement. These are hard times to be alive. Compatriots are pitted against each other. The row will not resolve itself. We need to shake off the past and become more scientific and rational to work out a new way of working out the recurring row and restore co-operation across the state boundaries.
G David Milton, Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
With reference to the article “Why only Rail Budget, scrap General Budget too” (FE, September 13), the author has hit the nail on the head. Mind you, this is what the incumbent finance minister Arun Jaitley has been doing for the last two years in all taxation matters. But sadly, he did not spare even the senior citizens of the country when he served a serious blow to them by taking a big pie out of their interest incomes. In any case, the hype and secrecy attached to the Union Budget should urgently go and it is possible only if the same is confined to a statement of revenue and expenditure. Let the govt take a holistic view of the current taxation regime and, thereafter, implement a rational tax structure on some long term basis. As regards the changing of the financial year, the government is duty-bound to wait for the recommendations of the committee constituted under former chief economic adviser, Shankar Acharya. In any case, migration from the current periodicity would involve a lot of meaningful deliberations and discussions taking all pros and cons into active consideration.
SK Gupta, New Delhi