Writing on water

On rivers, the NWP is very disappointing. There is indeed a reference to the pollution of rivers, but it seems very weak. Many of our rivers are dying or dead because of gross abuse. The gravity of the situation is not reflected in the NWP 2012.

There is a reference to the principle of equity, but it is not the driving force behind the NWP. The commitment to ecology is also weak. In two places, the reference to "ecological needs" in the earlier draft now stands diluted by the qualifier "minimum". Indeed, the term ecological needs is ambiguous. It seems to me that there are ecological imperatives and not ecological needs.

Finally, the entire structure of the NWP does not seem to be held together by an overarching or governing set of principles. Clearly, the revision of the national water policy is far from complete. One's earnest request to the ministry of water resources and to the NWRC is to treat NWP 2012 as a penultimate draft to be worked on further.

The writer is former secretary of water resources, Government of India, and chairman of the sub-group on drafting a national water framework law, set up by the Planning Commission

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