Thursday, December 03, 2009

3/4th December

It has been 25 years and there has been little justice for those who were poisoned that night.

The factory that leaked poison into the air has not been cleared up. Chemicals continue to seep into the area.

There was a state sponsored plane that helped Warren Anderson flee Bhopal. The company's official statement keeps up that tradition of fleeing.

What might it mean to live with cancerous, corrosive soil and water for 25 years?

I have come back from a trip to the desert. There is extreme dejection all around because it has not rained even for an hour this entire year. People are reeling under a terrible drought.

What does it mean to declare a drought in a desert?

More than 25 years back the government pushed the dream of ample water to the people used to an arid landscape. It was not a mirage but a shimmering line stretched across the dunes, the Indira Gandhi canal project.

The blueprint must have looked colorful with its blues against the browns. I saw stretches of the canal with sand blowing through it. And where the blue was deep, parched fields lay scattered around it. The canal is being stretched further south, the water must be carried forward, the fields here get their quota only occasionally.

Nomadic shepherds have settled into villages named after the canal tributary that gives them water. Cropping patterns have changed, dependent on the dream of abundant water. Traditional water storage systems have been destroyed.

But now the canal must carry its water further south. And it has not rained. Fields are parched. That is how drought is declared in a desert.

Employment guarantee schemes kick in. Families manage to get one, maybe two members to work for Rs. 80 per day. The family I was staying with said their cow had collapsed and died of starvation few weeks back. Fodder costs more than Rs. 1000 a quintal. A quintal lasts for a week. And nobody from their family had managed to get even a day's work in the EG schemes.

I have come back to images of that haunted factory that continues to maim and kill the people who live around it.

I have come back with the image of sand blowing through a web of veins meant to carry water.



ChoxBox said...

sur, my roots lie in that area of the country. will fwd this to mom and dad.

the mad momma said...

It makes me so mad Sur... makes me so mad...