Green Development

According to studies the number of people around the world without access to clean water is growing. Indeed, water as a resource, its preservation, proper management and utilization calls for clear policy guidelines so that each community, country or state can address the future growing water problem which can lead to conflicts if not handled in a proper manner. Experts are saying that two out of every three persons on the planet will have some form of a water problem. This statistic is worrisome. Nevertheless experts are also hopeful that the world “has the tools to vastly improve – if not solve – the coming global water challenge”. According to them, the keys to addressing the water challenge will be sustainability, conservation, technological innovation and local solutions. The answer may not be huge dams but rainwater collection and other micro-projects involving families and communities. In fact for us, we should not emulate what others are doing i.e. building mega dams. We can go for less expensive solutions incorporating both modern and indigenous designs. As mentioned by this column at the outset, proper water management and its preservation is the key to address both scarcity and access of this valuable resource.  We can no longer ignore the question of water. Our governments must necessarily include the water challenge in the development agenda.
Nagas & Water for Sustainable Future
For the Naga people it is of paramount importance to ensure sustainable water resource and its management. Unlike some others, Nagas have been blessed by God with natural resources such as water, land, forest etc. In the decades since the development process stepped in, as a community, we have however done little to preserve and protect our natural resources. We have been caught in the whirlwind of building a modern State and in the process, we are allowing the blatant destruction of our forests, erosion of our fertile lands to accommodate the so called development projects and subsequently with the green cover gone our water source is getting depleted and our rivers drying up or getting contaminated. A collective effort is required involving the State government especially with our grass root tribal bodies to put an end to our destructive mindset. Yes, we cannot stop development as this is also important. However Nagas can showcase a green development model to the rest of the world. Fortunately for us, we still have our natural resources, although not fully intact, but nevertheless in a better shape than many others.
We have a separate Department looking after soil and water conservation. Much more needs to be done and the government can begin by focusing attention on the effective management of our water resources, its protection from contamination and also its conservation. Likewise the Forest Department can also start a campaign by educating our villagers that excess felling of trees and destruction of our forest is drying up our water source/s. The government cannot do everything and therefore grass root organizations should educate and advocate measures to ensure that our traditional water sources are protected, preserved and sustained for posterity. Let us not blindly ape the destructive developmental models being presented to us from the outside. Nagas need to pursue development at our own pace and context and with our own design. For this, the government should come out with a well guided green development policy and one that is inclusive of the traditional knowledge of the Naga people.