[This letter was originally written and published in the Gujarati edition of Rediff.com. This has been translated into English by Himanshu Upadhyay]

Once you celebrate out SC judgement, look at little solutions

Dilip Gohel writes in Rediff.com Gujarati edition.

Saurashtra has always been the region with crisis. Those hard situations only accounts for the valour of the people of Saurashtra. All these 53 years, there had not been any sustained efforts to quench the thirst of the population. In Saurashtra, there are 113 dams of small, medium and big size. This year the water which is collected is only 1.75% of the capacity. Out of 185 rivers of Gujarat, only 8 rivers flow round the year. Last year, Saurashtrians saw the crux of the problem and built 7700 checkdams looking at the rain water harvesting as the only viable option.

What would have been the picture if our politicians and people would have realised it two decades ago?

What if within the five decades of our democracy, we would have built 30000 checkdams in Saurashtra?

Allowing 50 medium and big size for urban population, and setting the target of building 5 checkdams per village we could have avoided a giant called SSP. Big dams affects environment and the culture of habitat considerably. Millions of hectares forest land gets submerged due to such big dams. When I talk about Narmada, I remember my childhood, my memory of seeing Dhatarvadi [a river in Saurashtra] flowing even during summer twenty five years ago, my experience of walking through it's flowing water. I can contest that there is no comparison with the soothing feeling that one gets by walking through flowing river. Today rivers like Dhatarvadi runs dry within 48 hours after the rains. We have stiffled the culture of flowing rivers constructing huge structures blocking their natural flow. The forest that we will loose due to SSP can't be recreated even after 5000 years. The entire flaura and fauna just disappers in the face of such big dam.

Small ideas are effective but they are not sensational. There is no vain glory in them. Sardar Sarovar Oh! Oh! Oh!, Kalpsar Oh! Oh! Oh! But these small solutions don't attract our leaders. Simple reason, one can't put a nameplate on them. Tommorrow or day after tommorrow Kashubhai Patel will go to Kevadia Colony, will push one switch, the trolly will run ahead and will put some cement concrete on the dam. Flashes will capture the colour photographs and we will have eight column news stories. People will shower praises for taking SSP ahead. Even voters will like this photograph. But one can't do the same with checkdam.

Lastly, people of saurashtra should realise that only in 2030 some water may reach them through pipeline. But even that is not very much reliable. So, ok saurashtrian may fell happy about the SC judgement, may burst crackers one week in advance, distribute sweets. But once you are over with these celebrations, please don't forget that the real solution lies in little solutions, in local level rain water harvesting.