Maharashtra drought is man-made: Anna Hazare



Chnadrapur: Alleging that drought in Maharashtra is "man-made", social activist Anna Hazare on Saturday said the combine of political apathy and corruption, coupled with unchecked exploitation of water resources, was responsible for parched conditions in the state.

"The drought situation is not natural but man-made as we have exploited our water resources to the maximum possible limits without employing scientific methods of water and soil conservation in many years and the result is for everyone to see," he said.

Hazare was addressing media on the sidelines of inauguration of workshop of Joint Forest Management (JFM) committees under Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nagpur forest circles.

"Soil and water conservation activities should have been taken up by our successive governments long back but Rs 300?400 crore spent so far only resulted in percolation of money into the pockets of political leaders and ministers instead of percolation of water in the land," Hazare said.

Hailing the concept of Joint Forest Management as the first step towards democracy in real sense and transform village economy, Hazare said, "it was very important with respect to the society and the country in turn".

He alleged that successive governments never took people into confidence before pumping money into unscientific methods and the same has resulted in great depletion of underground water levels.

"The problem would be more severe in next 25-30 years if proper precautions are not taken with immediate effect," Hazare said.

Without naming any political party, Hazare said 'Chintan Shivirs' (brainstorming sessions) have become a medium to plan election strategy instead of deliberating on issues concerning common people.

"The chintan shibirs of political parties nowadays are not for implementation of works in the interest of people but to gain power in the next election. No political party in the country would bring prosperity in our country if one takes note of their past performance," Hazare said.

The anti-graft crusader said he was disillusioned with the functioning of government and did not want to have any truck with it. "Even severe situation like drought is being politicised," he said.

Continuing his tirade against establishment, the activist said, "political parties have become hubs for converting black money into white, which is evident from the fact that donations up to Rs 20,000 need not be accounted as per the recent policies adopted by parties".

Replying to a query, Hazare said he would not extend his support to any political party or a person including former aide Arvind Kejriwal.

Hazare announced that he would be touring Rajasthan, Punjab and southern parts of Uttar Pradesh as the part of his awareness campaign till the next general elections.

PTI