'Cauvery Calling' - A Solution To Revive The River & Lessen Farmers' Distress
The river Cauveri, also known as the ‘Ganges of the South’ is the lifeline for the state of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The river originates in the foothills of Western Ghats at Talakaveri, Kodagu in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu before merging into the Bay of Bengal.
The river for long has also been the reason for dispute between the two neighbouring states.
However, over time, drastic climate change caused due to global warming and meteorite rise in deforestation has parched the 802 km long river, endangering the water supply of 84 million people. Cauvery plays an indispensable role in the agricultural harvest of both states. Cauvery delta is one of South India’s rice bowls that supports 4.4 million people. It contributes 40 per cent of the food grain in Tamil Nadu and 26 per cent in Karnataka.
The continued dry spell due to delayed monsoon in 2019 resulted in 17 districts in Tamil Nadu being drought-hit. Dry reservoirs and negligible groundwater in Tamil Nadu has filled the pockets of the private water supplier in the state. Karnataka too could not escape from the grappling water crisis as the reports of farmers suicide made to headlines.
Farmers from the Cauvery basin to rejuvenate the river performed bizarre rituals such as frog weddings, donkey hitching, and offering special pujas to appease the rain gods. The numbers suggest that 83 per cent of farmers in Tamil Nadu and 77 per cent of farmers in Karnataka are in debt due to poor agriculture yield, causing farmers to suicide.
Three years back in 2016, the river went dry due to a shortage of rainfall by 40-70 per cent. Ironically, in 2015, Tamil Nadu suffered one of the worst floods which killed around five hundred people and damaged property worth Rs 20,000 – 1,60,000 crores.
Over the past 70 years, the river has depleted by 40%.
What Is the solution?
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev led Isha Foundation has come up with a unique idea to rejuvenate the dying river. Sadhguru is the architect of ‘Cauvery Calling’ – a massive campaign focused at the revival of the river and to overcome farmers’ distress. An awareness rally for the campaign was launched on August 4 which covers 28 districts in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the Cauvery basin.
What is Cauvery Calling?
Cauvery Calling is an agroforestry initiative and is a part of a nationwide movement – Rally for River to save rivers in the country. Sadhguru, along with his panel of experts, believes that soil erosion is leading to drying up of Cauvery. The campaign promises to plant 242 crore trees along the one-kilometre stretch from the Cauvery river.
The campaign is running on the efforts of millions of volunteers. For the private land, the campaign instructs to practice agroforestry to help farmers to pay off their debts. Agroforestry is the practice of growing conventional crops with fruit and timber trees in the same farm.
Afforestation on the banks of the river will help to replenish the soil’s nutrients and carbon content, making the soil fertile. Enriched soil can store more rainwater, which can feed the Cauvery river. Afforestation will provide fertile soil along with an adequate supply of water to the debt-ridden farmers.