Bitter Harvest

As economist and Planning Commission member, Abhijit Sen, puts it, “In the case of Punjab and Haryana, we have actually mined the area. We knew the problems but ignored them as these states were producing the food.” Take the case of water. According to the Central Groundwater Board, the water table is receding in 80% of Punjab and 70% of Haryana. The average depletion rate per year is 30-40 cm and goes up to 1 metre at some places. In other words, a proportion of Indians consume food grown with water that belongs to our children. In the long term, the International Water Management Institute estimates shrinking of ground water will reduce India’s grain output by one fourth.

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