PUCL Bulletin, September 2001

The Struggle Over the Lava Ka Baas Recharge Structure Continues

As we had informed you in our last e-mail, the future of the recharge structure built by the villagers is still uncertain. The Rajasthan irrigation minister has declared that every drop of rain that falls belongs to the government and that captures the rain can be arrested. Apparently, rainwater harvesting is illegal.

There is a major battle ahead of us since these developments can jeopardise community-based rainwater harvesting across the country. There already exist examples from other parts of India also wherein the government has stepped in and tried its utmost to prevent people from meeting their water demands themselves. Clearly this will need to be dealt with. Deeply concerned at these developments the Centre for Science and Environment is taking a group of eminent persons to Rajasthan to see the efforts of the villagers in Rajasthan, to meet chief minister Ashok Gehlot and to address a press conference on the 19th July.

These people include Dr M S Swaminathan of the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai; N C Saxena, secretary to the government of India, New Delhi; Om Thanvi, chief editor of Jansatta; Anna Hazare, social activist from Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra; and, Mohan Gopal, director of the National Law School University, Bangalore. -- July 18

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