Water woes of Bundelkhand: Where did 4250 water bodies go?
A government record has revealed that as many as 4250 water bodies have 'vanished’ in the last decade from the already arid region of Bundelkhand
As the rugged Bundelkhand struggles with every drop of water, a government record has astonishingly revealed that as many as 4250 water bodies have 'vanished' in the last decade from this arid region.
This happened despite a tall claim from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that the water bodies across the state would be protected and revived.
A senior official claimed that no one knows as to where 4250 water bodies have vanished in Bundelkhand. The district officials have no explanation for these missing water bodies. “They do not have any clue. When an RTI activist asked for the water bodies of Bundelkhand then it was revealed that these water bodies have vanished in thin air,” the official of the revenue department said.
The old records and documents of Bundelkhand show that this region had rich resources of forest and minerals. Still, the area is in distress because of the faulty policies of the government and the greed of people has led to the deterioration of the environment. “The records of early 1900 shows that Bundelkhand had 8,75,435 water bodies of different shape and size but in 1950 Bundelkhand was left with 21,785 water bodies. Of them, 4250 water bodies have vanished in the last 10 years,” the official said on condition of anonymity for obvious reasons.
Records say 151 water bodies vanished in Chitrakoot, 869 in Banda, 541 in Hamirpur, and 2,459 in Jhansi. Besides, 200 more water bodies were lost because of lack of rain in the last few years taking the number of lost water bodies to around 4250.
The fact came to light when an RTI activist raised a query about water bodies in — Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Jhansi, and Hamirpur. The revenue department carried out a survey to assess the magnitude of encroachment over water bodies in the state. Then, it came to light that 4250 water bodies have vanished in Bundelkhand in the last 10 years.
Raja Bhaiya of an NGO called Vidya Dham Samiti that works in Banda said that land sharks are responsible for the vanishing water bodies. They worked in connivance with the local administration as builders and illegal miners exploited the water bodies of Bundelkhand.
Bundelkhand has one of the lowest levels of per capita income and human development in the country, largely due to frequent droughts caused by scarcity of water and rain. Agriculture experts opine that vanished water bodies and community-managed ponds have resulted in a fall in water level and frequent droughts.