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IE: The death of the good old water-givers

Forests are far too serious a matter to be left to ideologues. The PM must heed the voice of the forester

Indian Express, Saturday, May 28, 2005

The protagonists of the Bill now wants to jeopardize remaining forests. The entire water regime in peninsular India is dependent upon the health of the watershed forests.The dry weather flow of the Bhagirathi at Tehri is six percent of the peak season flow. All the forests of Uttar Kashi and Tehri Garhwal Districts which protect the Bhagirathi catchment have disappeared. The dry weather flow of the Narmada at Hoshangabad is 12.5 per cent of the peak season flow.The forests of the upper and middle reaches of the Narmada are still relatively safe, though under immense biotic pressure.The minute this biotic pressure takes the form of privatizing these forests by handing over possession of parcels of two and a half hectares each to the tribals they, too, will disappear and the dry season flow will become zero.