INDIA: River of migration through heart of Telangana

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INDIA: River of migration through heart of Telangana

Postby pfpcnews » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:33 am

River of migration through heart of Telangana

The Times of India - September 16, 2017

By Syed Akbar

HYDERABAD: It's a blazing afternoon on the edge of the Red Corridor. Buses plying through Sivannagudem and neighbouring villages in Nalgonda are running almost empty; the place is virtually deserted except for a few elderly residents and some children. A local barber, Satyanarayana, says, "The monsoon failed, everyone was forced to leave in search of employment in big cities."

Across Telangana, the story repeats itself. Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Medak, they are all afflicted by acute water shortage--despite the presence of two major rivers. Mahbubnagar is where Krishna enters Telangana; Tungabhadra also passes through here. Nalgonda, in fact, hosts Asia's biggest masonry dam-Nagarjunasagar--and Medak is graced by Manjira, a tributary of the Godavari, besides several streams and rivulets which are in spate during monsoon.

This year, too, there's been no reduction in annual mean rainfall in Telangana (850-900 mm) but lack of watershed management has created scarcity. Impounding of Krishna and Godavari's inflows by Maharashtra and Karnataka did not help matters either.

Migration, though steady for three decades, has increased at the same pace as the water table has depleted.

Farm hands make up the exodus, Mahbubnagar sending the biggest contingent in south India, most heading to construction sites. Karimnagar accounts for maximum labourers to the Gulf.

Activists blame lack of water conservation for the perennial drought. " At least now the state has embarked on a plan to conserve rain and river water in mega ponds here," says environment activist S Srinivas.

Dependence on groundwater has told even on the health of the local population. Around 1,000 villages in Nalgonda are battling effects of high fluorine I content. The WHO limit for fluoride in drinking water is one mg per litre, but it's up to 10 times more in some places here.Many suffer from fluorosis, a disease that affects several parts of the body .Those with congenital fluorosis have stunted growth.

Deprived of potable water and sources to irrigate farmlands seems an irony for a district traversed by the Krishna and its tributaries. "Every family here has more than one victim. Those who can afford have migrated," says K Subhash, who leads an effort to create awareness about fluorosis.

The formation of Telangana state has now raised hopes of a shift in the narrative. A government project to dredge lakes and ponds and divert river waters when they overflow is underway.

SOURCE:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city ... 707146.cms
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