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English Essay on “Drought and Flood in India” Complete Essay, Paragraph, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Drought and Flood in India

The Indian sub-continent has a distinct geographical and historical identity. Its territories extend 3,214 kilometers between the extremes of the north and the south, and 2,933 kilometers between those of the east and the west. This vast landmass called India has been a playground of the monsoon from times immemorial. Monsoon is the seasonal wind of the Indian Ocean. By the end of the month of May, a low pressure is formed in the coastal plains in the west of India which attracts the monsoon winds and then there are occasional rains. In early June, the low pressure builds up heavily over north-western parts of the country and then the south-west rain bearing winds rush to the area with thunder, lightning and showers. By the beginning of July, these monsoon winds cover almost the entire country.

The intense heat of northern plains creates a low pressure area but the oceanic region maintains its low temperature and high pressure centre. Consequently, rain bearing winds, originating in the Indian Ocean, start blowing from the high pressure zone to the low pressure region over the vast landmass of India and then there are rains till September. The part of the monsoon winds from the Bay of Bengal move towards the plains of Ganga and Brahmaputra and cause heavy rains in West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and other neighbouring states of the sub-Himalayan region and the northern plains. But the distribution of rainfall is, highly unequal. The Indian rains are erratic and ill-distributed, which causes frequent floods and droughts. The rainfall in India varies from place to place and year to year. The north-eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland, etc. receive very heavy rainfall. In contrast, Rajasthan and some parts of Gujarat have very low precipitation. The average yearly rainfall in these areas is between 100 and 500 mm. Between these extremes, there are low areas of moderately high and low rainfall ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 mm and 500 to 1,000 mm. Thus, some parts of the country are flood-prone while others are drought-prone.

Floods and droughts, both create havoc. The frequent droughts, particularly in Rajasthan, Gujarat and some other parts of the country due to lack of rain make the people and animals suffer a lot. For example, in the year 1987 there was widespread distress and suffering due to drought in many parts of the country. The worst affected were the small and marginal farmers, labourers and villagers without proper means of living and sustenance. Consequently, they lost jobs and incomes. There was acute shortage of drinking water as a result of the declining water table. People, in thousands, were forced to migrate to other parts of the country with their cattle and meagre belongings. Thousands of cattle-heads died for want of water and fodder as there were no crops at all.

To alleviate the suffering caused by frequent droughts, the Government of India and the states began a Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAD). Under this scheme these areas were divided into 615 blocks, spread over 91 districts of 13 states. This was done to achieve an integrated development of these zones through optimum use of land, water and livestock resources with a view to increase production, opportunities of employment and income of the people. The economies of these drought-prone areas was sought to be insulated from the effects of recurring droughts through diversification of agriculture, grassland development, soil management and conservation of resources of water. Similarly, there have been some very laudable attempts for integrated development of desert areas and arid zones of Rajasthan, Haryana and Gujarat. No doubt, the administration and the governments have been quite sensitive to the sufferings of the people of these areas and yet there is much left to be done and achieved. To remove the poverty of these regions and to alleviate suffering, more efforts should be made towards drip-irrigation system, dry land farming, conservation of forests and grasslands, stabilisation of sand-dunes, wise use of water resources, exploitation of non-conventional sources of energy and development of agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry.

The uncertainty of the monsoon and the rains is well known. On the one hand, the lack of rains causes drought while on the other, its excess results in deluge and floods. Both the extreme states are undesirable as they cause a lot of suffering and loss of lives and material. In India, floods are an annual occurrence, occurring in one part of the country or another. Come rains and the rivers are in flood, causing havoc. The torrential and continuous rains give rise to floods which, in turn, inundate fields, forests, villages and towns, wash away river banks, trees, crops and cattle in their fury. They often change the course of the rivers and, thus, submerge much valuable agricultural, pasture and residential land. During the monsoon, life-giving rivers, like Brahmaputra, the Ganga and the very e Jamuna in the plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Mahanadi, the Narmada and the Cauvery in the south, receive very heavy rainfall and discharge the maximum quantity of water resulting in frequent heavy floods. The southern rivers are comparatively less prone to floods, but they too are often in spateand cause extensive damage. The Himalayan Rivers like the Ganga, the Jamuna, and the Brahmaputra, etc. are snow-fed and perennial and may rise in spate when there is heavy melting of snow in the higher regions in the summers. No doubt, most of the causes of floods can be attributed to nature. Very heavy rainfall in the catchment area, siltation of river-beds, land-slides in the mountains and hills, etc. are some of the main reasons of floods. But man’s contribution to the recurrence of floods is no less. The indiscriminate cutting of trees for timber, destruction of forests and grasslands and greedy exploitation of the hills and mountains for minerals, etc. are also major factors of recurring floods. Construction of big dams, submerging vast tracts of forest land and woods also adds to the recurrence of floods. Thus droughts and floods are not only natural calamities, they are also man-made. Both are devastating in their nature and leave a trail of suffering, irreparable loss, misery, poverty and erosion of valuable soil.

In the plains and hills of the north, there is a mighty network of rivers and when they are in spate they cause devastation on a large scale. They destroy life and property as they burst their banks and dams. The worst affected people are those of poor and weaker sections of the society, as their small agricultural fields, huts and houses are destroyed and their means of subsistence devastated. But floods do not spare anyone, whether poor or wealthy. The scourge of floods is too severe for all to bear. In flood-affected areas standing crops, livestock, people, villages and towns are swept away. Houses, huts, bridges, rail-lines, and roads, etc. collapse like packs of cards. Power and electrical failures plunge entire regions in utter darkness. There is no drinking water, no food, no shelter during floods. And then there might be visitations of famine and epidemics, if proper remedial measures are not taken immediately. Had there been no droughts and floods, India would have been a very prosperous country, because it is mainly an agricultural country and more than 80% of its population depends on it, directly or indirectly.

Unfortunately for India, droughts and floods are an annual feature, and so far we have not been able to tame our mighty rivers and solve the problem of floods. During floods, a huge amount of funds and money is required to initiate relief and rescue measures. Relief camps with facilities for food, drinking water, and medicine, etc. are set up, liberal loans and subsidies are granted. Food supplies, etc. are also dropped for marooned people. They are rescued by boats and sometimes by helicopters. Many people lose their lives for want of quick, timely and effective rescue operations. The quick and proper disposal of dead bodies and carcasses also becomes a problem then.

To minimise the recurrence of floods certain firm, effective and proven steps should be taken. These measures can be divided into long-term and short-term ones. In the opinion of the experts, afforestation on a vast scale in the catchment areas and on flanks and slopes of the hills and mountains, is an effective measure to check floods. Plantation of trees on a mass scale in these areas will help check landslide, siltation of the river-beds and erosion of the soil, which are some of the main causes of floods. The destruction of forests, cutting of trees for timber and fuel is really suicidal. These should be effectively banned. Similarly, destruction of hills and mountains for stones and minerals, etc. should be immediately stopped. Afforestation and conservation of woods and green cover would go a long way in checking the overflow and siltation of the rivers. Erection of small irrigation dams and ponds at various points of advantage may also help in minimizing the incidence of floods. Interlinking of rivers and waterways can prove another effective measure to tackle floods and deluge. It would help in taking excess of water to the regions where there is scarcity of rain and water. Moreover, construction of a series of small irrigation dams and reservoirs can help a lot in controlling the floods. They can also be used for power generation. A few of our rivers rise in Nepal and flow through Bangladesh. Therefore, the co-operation of these countries may be sought to check the floods. There are already some river projects undertaken jointly by India and Nepal but more co-operative efforts and understanding are needed in the areas of flood-control, afforestation, conservation and water storage for power-generation and irrigation. 


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