Where have all the seasons gone from Gujarat? | india | Hindustan Times
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Where have all the seasons gone from Gujarat?

Gujarat's poorest farmers are feeling the heat from climate change. A new report 'Where Have All the Seasons Gone?' Bharati Chaturvedi reports.

india Updated: May 16, 2011 01:12 IST
Bharati Chaturvedi

Gujarat's poorest farmers are feeling the heat from climate change. A new report 'Where Have All the Seasons Gone?' by Delhi Platform, the Gujarat Agricultural Labour Union and the International Union of Foodworkers, tells us how. Their conclusions are from the Northern Banaskantha and Sabarkantha and Eastern Dahod and Panchmahal districts.

A few things hit the hardest. One is the shifting hydrological cycle. There is less dew, a prized resource, along with irregular rainfall. In Eastern areas, well access is limited. Water is over-extracted. Reduced water tables reduce water access to poorer farmers. Consequently, crop yield has fallen.

Sometimes, farmers leave their fields fallow. Then there is milk, important in Gujarat's economy. Rising temperatures have stressed cattle, fodder scarcity. Their milk fat is reduced, lowering prices. Migrating for better earnings is risky, because farming is in a slump, and work hard to find. Sharecroppers earn less, losing nearly 30 to 40 work days annually. The report has ideas too, such as implementing water and equity, land ownership and innovations in NREGA.

Never Safe Again
Once you are exposed to nuclear radiation, particularly Iodine-131, you stand the risk of thyroid cancer. This risk does not reduce even after 20 years.

These are the conclusions of a nearly 20 year old, just released study by Drs Brenner et al. The research itself is astounding. It tested 12,500 people under 18 at the time of the accident, for thyroid radioactivity within two months of the accident and repeated this four times from 1998 and 2007. Of these, 65 got thyroid cancer, demonstrating high risk.

We've to take cognisance of such data. For existing plants, what mechanisms do we have to ensure populations near these are monitored? How can the a common man know about existing plants to be part of public monitoring?

After all, as this study shows, such disasters can result in a public health epidemic.