The manifestos of the political parties too remained silent about it
although possibility of development of El Nino was predicted by known
climatologists and specialised research organisations early this year.
As impacts of El Nino, “India may have
less rain and an arid climate to the extent of a drought like situation.
Agriculture would be the worst hit,” says Dr Rahas Bihari Panda of
Department of Environment Science, North Odisha University.
Hitting agriculture means fall in food
production leading to food scarcity in the country that has a population
over 1.2 billion that comprises a quarter of world’s hungry people.
Less domestic food production would force
India to import food materials that could result in escalation of market
With limited storage facility, an
ambiguous procurement policy and ill-managed public distribution system
(PDS), it is hard to believe that the government can tackle a situation
of food scarcity in the country successfully.
Keeping in view that nearly half of the
Indians survive with less than rupees 20 (one third of a dollar) a day
and about one fifth sleeping hungry even today, as facts presented by
bhookh.com, it’s more likely that the number of hungry people in the
country will go up.
“Such a situation may lead to chaos in the
country. It is quite shocking that political leaders engaged in
campaigning for their parties talk big about development and wellbeing
of people but do not utter even a single word about El Nino and its
disastrous impacts that the country is going to face soon after the
elections,” says N A Shah Ansari, social activist and a community radio
“In fact, the country should have an
exclusive department to deal with such natural phenomenon including
climate change,” Ansari Adds.
The gravity of the issues to come up in a
developed stage of El Nino demands immediate attention of the
government and greater political will to keep the country prepared to
face any possible climatic threat and its impacts.
As people across the country are worried
about El Nino, political leaders should have made their stand clear to
convince people with their plans to deal with such a critical climatic
“Can we expect our political leaders to
think beyond the ballot? What they have done to keep their earlier
promises? On one page of their manifesto, they talk to safeguard our
tomorrow and on the other they promise to ensure speedy environmental
clearances to industrial projects. So, how do they bother about
environment and people?” - questions noted nature conservationist and
anti-corruption activist Biswajit Mohanty.
Apart from food, the biggest issue to be
given a serious thought is the possible scarcity of water to drink,
irrigate and use for industrial purposes because the rivers are
overstressed and the reservoirs are overloaded with industrial
requisitions. And, it’s again a fact that all reservoirs carry less
water than their defined capacity because of no conservation measure
since they are built.
“Hirakud contains at least 25% less than
its capacity because of siltation. Already stressed to meet the demands
of industries, the reservoir would fail to fulfil water demands for
drinking and irrigation purpose,” says Mahanadi Waterkeeper Ranjan
Panda, convenor of Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO).
“Even the source river Mahanadi will go
dry while meeting the demands of industries in Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
If there will be less rain both the river Mahanadi and Hirakud reservoir
will be short of water to fulfil the human needs. But, unfortunately,
our political leaders do not go deep into these issues,” Panda adds.
Experts say, water scarcity may lead to
bad quality water supply for consumption of urban dwellers which may
lead to several diseases such as gastroenteritis, jaundice and various
skin ailments. Even conflict for water can not be overruled in such a
situation, experts apprehend.
“People will suffer. The government may
have to face troubles while dealing with the problems. But there is no
shortcut. As we add to the atmospheric temperature everyday, such
phenomenon would be more frequent than today – may be doubled as
predicted by many. We need long term plans,” says environmental
scientist Dr Rahas Bihari Panda.
As the predictions go, the country needs
quick action to be prepared to deal with the possible chaotic situation
in the country. The leaders, high sounding about development, economic
growth and poverty alleviation, need to understand the link between
poverty and environment instead of separating the both, which is
By now, development of El Nino is almost certain. As NewScientist says
quoting Meteorologist Wenju Cai of CSIRO, Australia's national research
agency, in Melbourne, “it looks like a big one. The more heat in the
Pacific, the bigger the El Niņo, and right now, 150 metres below the
surface, a ball of warm water is crossing that ocean. It's huge."
But, unfortunately, our political leaders
don’t seem to be serious about the El Nino or the environmental issues
as a whole. Experts even wonder if they realise the kind of situation
the country is going to face soon after someone from them is sworn in to