Letters to the editor
Financial Express 22ND APRIL 2014
I read an interesting Editorial in FE of 18th April 2014 titled “Exporting Water”. Here is what I wrote to FE and today’s paper has published it.
LINK to the Editorial:
Saving Water: Your editorial “Exporting water” (FE, April 18) rightly and shockingly highlights the excess quantities of water being used in cultivation of rice in Punjab as compared to that being used in West Bengal. Reports by agencies such as the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) seem to have been merely kept in files without taking any concrete action to correct such gross wastage of an important commodity such as water. Scientists and agricultural experts need to focus their research lenses on developing better qualities of seeds that are not only high-yielding and pest-resistant, but also use minimal water for cultivation and harvesting. There are frequent reports on experimentation being done by some universities in this field but unless the commercial viability of growing rice with less water is established, such reports are only like the proverbial oasis in a desert! One may recall about reading a report on a new type of rice being cultivated by the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore which reportedly has many advantages over typical rice varieties – it requires less water to grow, it is higher in protein content and it emits less methane over its life-cycle. Reports further confirm that this rice uses 60% less water than conventional rice. Let us be hopeful that word about such successful experimental approaches to rice spread. Concerned authorities need to think, decide and implement an action plan to avoid the potential water crisis. After all, let it not be so that in times to come, the most abundant thing on this planet becomes its rarest commodity.
JS Broca, New Delhi