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Israel to quench Cherrapunjee’s thirst
Correspondent SOHRA, JAN 31:
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Published on 1 Feb. 2009 1:25 AM IST
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Israel has offered help to Meghalaya government in tackling its severe water crisis in Sohra, the new name of Cherrapunjee. Sohra has earned the dubious distinction of being the wettest desert on earth for its chronic drinking water problem during the no- rainy seasons, despite receiving 1200 mm rainfall annually - the highest in the world. "We have planned a holistic approach and steps will be taken wherein rain water harvesting and a distribution system, livelihood, forestry and agriculture will be created together with the local experts for phase-wise implemented," Business Head & Representative in India for ARGOS (Agri Projects) David Rumnong Ashkenazy said. Sohra receives more than 12,000 mm of rain every year between June-November. Every year between December-May the 100, 000 people living in Sohra experience a wet drought. Though Sohra receives 12,000 mm of rainfall every year, it faces acute water scarcity during post-monsoon months, Meghalaya chief secretary Ranjan Chatterjee said pointing out that why Meghalaya was looking for help from experts who have quenched the deserts of Israel. Ashkenazy said a team of experts from Israel will visit Meghalaya sometimes in mid February this year to render help to the government in offering a consultancy for restoration of the environment. The first stage for restoration work at Sohra would begin in February and they will work together with the Department of soil and water conservation and the public of the area towards achieving the target. The team will jointly plan and construct suitable systems to collect, store, and transport rainwater and to create livelihood for the people, he said. Ashkenazy said the team will plan a system which has been developed with an aim to provide water and make a bridge between areas where water is available and those areas where it is in short supply, as well as between the rainy and the dry seasons. Father of the Green Revolution Prof MS Swaminathan said Sohra is facing the "wet drought" as the area is located on a top of a limestone plateau, besides the surrounding hills are denuded and more than 50 per cent of the forest are lost. We will plan a system developed to provide water and make a bridge between areas where water is available and those where it is in short supply, as well as between the rainy and the dry seasons. We will re - create forest areas & offer opportunities to the people in agriculture, Ashkenazy said.

 
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