Rathodics

Call it Rathodics, Rathodology, Rathod-gineering, or Rathodistry; chances are high that you will find lot of useless things on this blog. Nevertheless, I thank you for visiting my blogsite, and hope you spend sometime reading the blogs and commenting on them. Further, you can visit me at http://www.unm.edu/~srathod

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

World Water Day.

March 22 is World Water Day.

Incidently, water is another of the three focus areas of the New Mexico chapter of the Association for India's Development (AID-NM) for which I am volunteering. Last year, AIDNM organized two screenings of the documentary Thirst. AIDNM had invited the directors of this documentary, Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman to lead a discussion after the movie.

The documentary brought forward the issue of water privatization -
is water a human right or a commodity to be bought and sold in a global marketplace? It is ridiculous the way corporations set their eyes on water, a basic necessity, as a source of their profits. At the same time, government officials of such places where water privatization is being sought, support the corporations, instead of the citizens who elected them to their posts. The documentary focuses on three places. One of them is Stockton, California, where the city government wants to grant a private company the rights to supply water. It shows the struggle of few dedicated individuals who form a small group to stop the government, though without success, to privatize water. The second example is of Cochabamba, Bolivia, where the government privatized water to Bechtel. However, due to widespread protest, under the leadership of Oscar Olivera, the government backed off the deal. The latest I heard is that Bechtel is suing Bolivia for unrealized losses due to the deal gone sour. The third case is of Rajasthan, India, where Dr. Rajendra Singh single-handedly, with the help of the villagers, made water conservation possible in the arid regions of Rajasthan. Incidently, AID-NM had invited Dr. Rajendra Singh in May 2004 for a panel discussion on water conservation, here in Albuquerque. He runs the organization Tarun Bharat Sangh, which has worked towards water rights in India.

Interspersed throughout the documentary are clippings from the 3rd World Water Forum held in Kyoto, Japan in 2003, where the government officials from various governments, World Bank and corporations try to justify that water privatization is, indeed, the way to progress.

Thirst was screened on PBS at various times. Please check your local listings if you would like to know the schedule of the screening.

Today is the last day for the 4th World Water Forum, which commenced on March 16, 2005 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Meanwhile, the 2nd Alternative World Water Forum, held from March 17 to 20, 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland, has called for a global tax to save the vital resource. The activists propose that this would avoid having to use private funding for the distribution of water.

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