Green Revolution in India

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The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds after 1965 and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India. Famine in India, once accepted as inevitable, has not returned since the introduction of Green Revolution crops. This movement is now under fire, and is blamed for the spread of Land Degradation in India due to excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides, etc.[citation needed] Of the high-yielding seeds, wheat produced the best results. Production of coarse grains- the staple diet of the poor- and pulses -the main source of protein- lagged behind, resulting in reduced per capita availability[citation needed]. All India Radio (AIR) played a vital role in creating awareness for these methods. Along with high yielding seeds and irrigation facilities, the enthusiasm of farmers mobilized the idea of agricultural revolution and is also credited to All India Radio. •

[edit] Results
The major benefits of the Green Revolution were experienced mainly in northern and northwestern India between 1965 and the early 1980s; the program resulted in a substantial increase in the production of food grains, mainly wheat and rice[citation needed]. Food-grain yields continued to increase throughout the 1980s, but the dramatic changes in the years between 1965

and 1980 were not duplicated. By FY 1980, almost 75 percent of the total cropped area under wheat was sown with high-yielding varieties. For rice the comparable figure was 45 percent. In the 1980s, the area under high-yielding varieties continued to increase, but the rate of growth overall was slower. The eighth plan aimed at making high-yielding varieties available to the whole country and developing more productive strains of other crops[citation needed]. The Green Revolution created wide regional and interstate disparities[citation needed]. The plan was implemented only in areas with assured supplies of water and the means to control it, large inputs of fertilizers, and adequate farm credit. These inputs were easily available in at least parts of the states of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh; thus, yields increased most in these states. In other states, such as Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, in areas where these inputs were not assured, the results were limited or negligible, leading to considerable variation in crop yields within these states. The Green Revolution also increased income disparities: higher income growth and reduced incidence of poverty were found in the states where yields increased the most and lower income growth and little change in the incidence of poverty in other states[citation needed] . The Green Revolution has also been criticized as unsustainable. It requires immense amounts of capital each year to purchase equipment and fertilizers[citation needed]. This may lead to a cycle of debt if a farmer is unable to pay off the loans required each year. Additionally, the crops require so much water that water tables in some regions of India have dropped dramatically[citation needed]. If this drop continues, it is possible that the process of desertification may take place. Already, the low water is starting the process of salinization. If continued, this would leave the land infertile, spelling disaster for India.[citation needed] In 2006, Dr Norman Borlaug, widely known as the 'Father of India's Green Revolution', was presented India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, by India's ambassador in Mexico City.[1][2]

[edit] Environmental impact
The environmental impact of excessive use to chemical fertilizers and pesticides was only revealed as years passed by. In 2009, under a Greenpeace Research Laboratories investigation, Dr Reyes Tirado, from the University of Exeter, UK, conducted a study in 50 villages in Muktsar, Bathinda and Ludhiana districts that revealed chemical, radiation and biological toxicity was rampant in Punjab. 20% of the sampled wells showed nitrate levels above the safety limit of 50 mg/l, established by WHO. The study connected this finding with high use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.[3] With increasing poisoning of the soil, the region once hailed as the home to the Green revolution, now due to excessive use of chemical fertilizer, is being termed the "Other Bhopal", and "even credit-takers of the Revolution have begun to admit they had been wrong, now that they see wastelands and lives lost to farmer suicides in this “granary of India".[4] For example, Buddha Nullah, a rivulet which run through Malwa region of Punjab, India, and after passing through highly populated Ludhiana district, before draining into Sutlej River, a tributary of the Indus river, is today an important case point in the recent studies, which suggest this as another Bhopal in making.[5] A joint study by PGIMER and Punjab Pollution Control Board in 2008, revealed that in villages along the Nullah, calcium, magnesium, fluoride, mercury, beta-endosulphan and heptachlor pesticide were more than permissible limit (MPL) in ground and tap waters. Plus the water had high concentration of COD and BOD (chemical and biochemical oxygen demand), ammonia, phosphate, chloride, chromium, arsenic and chlorpyrifos pesticide. The ground water also contains nickel and selenium, while the tap water has high concentration of lead, nickel and cadmium.

Friday, July 2, 2010
Punjab: A DYING CIVILISATION? Punjab: A DYING CIVILISATION? The repeat of devastation of Sindhu Valley Civilization By Umendra Dutt About two years ago my friend the famous singer Rabbi Shergill in one of his Punjabi article says “There is no doubt that it was just because of a major environmental change that the great civilization of Indus valley had completely vanished. The same reasons, in the same form are today existed before us. The only difference between the both situations is this that in those times it was a natural disaster but this time it is of man made”. Rabbi equated present situation of Punjab with Sindh valley which destroyed because of water scarcity. Rabbi concluded his article by saying ‘Sindh ghaatti aj fir maran nu tyaar hai’ which means Sindh valley is again prepared to die “Will this really happen?” I asked my co-passengers “Of course, it is a degrading environment and a dying civilization in Punjab; a whole community has been put to slow death” affirmed Dr Amar Singh Azad, my senior colleague in Kheti Virasat Mission. “It is a crime committed against humanity and nature by our own governments, that too in the name of Development”, I said, endorsing his observation. All of us were very upset and angry after visiting villages near Dhakansu drain and Ghaghar River in Patiala and Sangrur districts. This was our third visit to a river or drain area to educate ourselves on environmental toxicity and its multiple impacts. About eight years ago, I did a padayatra along the Jayanti River in Ropar district. I found several similarities between the disappearance of Jayanti and Ghaghar rivers. Both rivers have lost their relevance after society forgot and neglected the significance of these rivers. The river eco-system was ruined at both places by the developmental activities carried out by “modern society”. Our latest Yatra was a field visit to learn more on the crisis of water, environmental toxicity, condition of agriculture, biodiversity, the unfolding health crisis and the socio- economic fallout of this ecological disaster. The entire picture is extremely frightening. There has been a lot of debate on the

Now. Some of our well-wishers ask us again and again that – “Why are you activists bent on such scare-mongering around these things?” I would like to repeat the words of Dr Azad here – “Yes.it is the whole of Punjab that seems to be under deadly devastation now. ugly and uncalled for. It is a life and death question for Punjab. The reason is the same “waterlessness” that has now become a nightmare for this village too. increasing health problems particularly those related to reproductive health.severe health and water tragedy apparent in the districts of Malwa region. There are several indicators to confirm what Dr Amar Singh Azad said about Punjab being a dying civilization. It was a first-of-its-kind protest in India at that time. the indications that we are getting from across Punjab point to a death sentence written for the whole eco-system in this part of the country and particularly for this brave community. It was a desperate step that was taken by the villagers. early ageing and cancers etc. it is clearly evident that Punjab is a dying civilization. Harpalpur to Shahpur Theri and Makrod Sahib in Sangrur. in a journey from Mirzapur Sandharsi. However. loss of biodiversity and crop diversity. this water distress has engulfed the villages of the apparently ‘eco-prosperous’ area of Puadh.villages after villages are caught in the grip of a severe water crisis. Both have a common reason -– the Water crisis. . declining immune capacity. water quality going drastically down with multiple kinds of contamination. ‘Villages up for sale’ are a unique symbol of distress and devastation in Punjab. Mandi Khurd or MalSingh Wala or Teja Rohella. Several people may find this offending. In March 2002. The symptoms are: severe. The disturbing symptoms of this slow death are common. Harkishanpura of Bathinda district put itself up for sale and then Mal Singh Wala of Mansa district followed in 2005. because the situation is far more destructive and scary than our government and people can ever imagine. Dona Nanka near Fazilka or Mirzapur Sandharsi . destruction of river eco-systems and vanishing aquatic life. A village in Patiala district near Chandigarh Mirzapur Sandharsi is contemplating putting itself up for sale. Both of these villages are situated in cotton belt of Malwa. It can be Harkishanpura. multiple environmental toxicity. we visited this village – what was bluntly visible and extremely disturbing to find is that Punjab is fast turning into a waterless region. we want to create a scare. But we should correct our view point . After reading reports in the media. I wondered how accurate is forecast made by Rabbi Shergill. drinking water crisis due to drying-up of upper aquifers and rapid deterioration of the groundwater situation all over the state.

it is very costly to draw it and more over how long will it last. Surinder Singh. farmers here used to grow several kinds of vegetables for sale in the market as well as self-consumption. vegetables cannot be grown. Chairman of village Cooperative Society. the same pattern of health problems is being found in domestic animals: farmers repeatedly reported that animals are unable to conceive and if they conceive they abort frequently. As there is no water left in two upper aquifers – at 70 feet and 150 feet respectively . I often say in Punjabi that Punjab is fast turning into Be-aab and Punjabis of Be-aab Punjab are bound to become Be-abaad (displaced). “We forgot the taste of our own grown vegetables”. they don’t cultivate vegetables in several villages of Ghannour area of Patiala district. now. Farmers are able to grow wheat and paddy but with this hard water. but unfortunately at many places this aquifer is having water unfit to even irrigate their farms. so it is of little use. “We are forced to increase the lowering by 12 to 20 feet every year”. farmers selling their farms and lastly. Around ten years back. emergence of loss of selfconfidence and self-esteem amongst the affected people to tackle the situation. we are not able to cultivate vegetables anymore. Further. This is a common trend in all villages of this area where purchasing vegetables from cities is common. there was no such problem. It’s very difficult to find anyone growing vegetables from last ten years in the village. Mandavi. this water crisis engulfed our area”. What after that? No body is able to answer. It is going to be exhausted. said a farmer. because the water quality has deteriorated. water started disappearing from the 150-feet aquifer also. As Ghaghar died slowly.villagers are facing a lot of hardship to meet even basic requirement of water. Now. the all-round crisis is also reflecting itself in agriculture and agricultural livelihoods: falling agriculture productivity. Now villagers are forced to draw water from third aquifer to be found at the depth of about 400 feet. Even if it is fit for irrigation. After all it is ‘Fossil Water’. told Harbans Singh. Sarpanch of Mirzapur Sandharsi told us. I find that Mirzapur Sandharsi and nearby villages are an apt illustration for this idiom. Farmers from Harpalpur gave a more pitiable picture: “Earlier we use to sell our vegetables in Rajpura and Chandigarh markets. Earlier. Farmers will tell you the same story in villages like Shahpur Theri. We are ready to sell even our village”.Disturbingly. this water crisis has forced us to sell our land. Chandu. increase in external inputs and rising debts. the 70-feet aquifer began to go dry and about five years ago. “When Ghaghar was alive about 20 year back. Makorad Sahib and . “There is no proper water. growing disconnect between farmer and his/her land.

Harvinder Singh. pesticides and weedicides. The average wheat yield dropped drastically in the last few years in all villages we visited. Basmati. This has also put an economic burden on them”. Everywhere. When asked about debt situation. Pigeonpea. Tara-Mira. This has another impact -manifold increase in usage of chemical fertilizers. Arhar and Chilies. We used to grow Basmati about 15. as yields started declining.Foold. making agriculture more expensive now. while preparing to apply chemical fertilizers in his farm. most of farmers used to grow pulses. Wheat. 14 to 16 quintals of wheat and even 10 to 12 quintals of pulses. Barley. This has also eroded traditional knowledge system of farming in this area. Masar. they stopped producing pulses. Alsi.was plundered. the biodiverse farming system which flourished here for hundred of years also dried up. a 70-year old farmer from village Shahpur Theri . ‘As groundwater is going deeper and deeper.’ It is a common perception of farmers from different villages. All of this makes the farm economics unviable. But as Ghaghar has gone dry. Pearl Millet. This affects crops and their yields often. . there has been a drastic loss in agro-biodiversity. diversity-based farming was the main approach. “Death of Ghaghar has destroyed both our wealth and health.20 years back with very less water from Ghaghar and used to obtain 16 to 20 quintals per acre. using Ghaghar water and getting higher yields in comparison to today. with farmers becoming more indebted. Almost all the agricultural land here is mortgaged! “We were happy and prosperous those days. Farmers grew Corn. This is sign of loss of household food and nutritional security. We had these results without using any Urea in our fields. Mustard. Farmers reported that all these crops were grown without any chemical inputs simply by irrigating their farms with Ghaghar water. Slowly. Til. Gwara. farmers have turned into buyers of vegetables from being producers. It was found that in the last 20 years. They are now so obsessed with chemical farming that they lost self confidence. Youth Club President of Shahpur Theri says with grief. Loss of agro-biodiversity is another issue of concern. Now farmers are using high amount of chemical fertilizers. it is also losing its quality. Moth. We know it is poison – but we have no other alternative” said Jaswant Singh of Shahpur Theri. Moong. Farmers’ real wealth – water and soil .” said Gyani Subeg Singh. Cotton. “We cannot grow any thing without chemicals. Sugarcane. It was found that earlier. Farmers reported getting yields as low as 5 quintals per acre of wheat. Earlier.

I used to drink Ghaghar water almost every day while returning from fields – I never experienced any problem with that – that was about 20 years back”. “Earlier our animals would go there for grazing. bathing and drinking Ghaghar water. the cord of affinity with their land no longer exists. About 35 to 40 people sold their entire property and shifted out of the village. In these villages. Ghaghar died right in front of our eyes”. Vaid Piyara Singh (55) of Makrodr Sahib said with unshed tears in his eyes: “Ghaghar was clean and the whole village used to drink its water. “Fish from Ghagar used to be quite famous once upon a time. small and big tortoises and so on used to be present in large numbers in Ghaghar. The entire belt of villages on the bank of Ghaghar in Sangrur district was using Ghaghar water not only for irrigation but also for domestic usage. These farmers no more feel any attachment to their village. In village Phoolad. all households used to irrigate their farms from Ghaghar water.” Then one farmer added “Why talk about only these two villages . but now they are forced to look for other options.Now. Several farmers are now working as landless laborers”. In adjoining Chandu village. Some people also . Sadly. said Kulwant Singh (52) of Makrodr Sahib with visible grief on his face. Everybody whom we met during our visit told us . the entire village is under debt. It was the case of entire society breaking away from its water heritage.the whole belt of around 40 villages is up for sale though we are not declaring it openly.“Once Ghaghar River used to be full of life and we used to drink Ghaghar water about 20 years back . a large number of farmers had already sold their land. It is acid only. more than three farmers replied at once in a collective voice – “We are also ready to sell our village. people used to come from far away to purchase fish here.” said Vaid Subhash (37). we are all ready to quit agriculture and move out of here”. This situation is reminiscent of my earlier experience in Mirzapur Sandharsi and Harpalpur. but now we cannot even think of it. Everyone sitting there supported his views. But if we get a chance. Several farmers were forced to sell their farm land. Not a single acre of land is free from loan. Thousands of fish of different species. The most painful experience we have had in this tour is that of the murder of a river and her bounties. When I asked farmers at Harpalpur in Patiala what they thought of Mirzapur Sandharsi villagers putting up their village for sale. all the persons sitting in front of us had once been able to drink directly from the river.it used to be clear. which is just 300 meters from Ghaghar we got to know that except two young men. sweet and tasty”.

This indicates that along with destruction of Ghaghar the native plants and trees also got ruined. produces irritation. Many report that the number of birds in this area has gone down. Jand. “The whole ecosystem of the earth is interwoven in a web of highly sensitive and complex interdependence. And the younger generation of farmers even does not know the names of several friendly-insects. Punjab is going to be a state of sick people highly dependent on medicines”.pointed out that the river bed had several springs like Nadiya Taal from where they got water throughout the year. The water. As Dr Azad often says. “In those days. Dr Azad reminds me famous prediction of Albert Einstein. We do not even dare to touch it where we used to earlier be able to drink the water. Every time when we got negative answer about presence of honeybees. itching and skin rashes. We heard this almost everywhere that we went. His words were reinforced during this tour as we had personally witnessed a massive health crisis all around. several species of birds were found. Now it appears that hell is flowing here and villagers are forced to live with the situation. they said. Every village we had visited illustrates the same tragedy. Kiker. with bad smell and with no life at all. if touched. it was explained. I am speechless since the picture emerging in front of us was a hopeless picture of doom. The water is black. and bushes of Duaansa. They are all gone”. "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth." Like earthworms and honeybees several other insects were thrown out of web of life. Ghaghar was generous with life and prosperity. . In spite of floods every year. In every village we had also enquired about existence of honeybees and earthworms and unfortunately got the similar answer indicating more vast destruction of life – ‘Now honeybees and earthworms are almost gone. now we hardly see even common birds like the crow or the sparrow. Dr Azad kept muttering that this is our Silent Spring unfolding in Punjab. Dr Azad keeps saying again and again. any toxin in the environment – air. What we have witnessed during this study visit has reaffirmed our earlier hypothesis that Punjab is being subjected to multiple environmental toxicity.affects all forms of life right from the microbes to human beings. man would have no more than four years to live. They reported that Ghaghar got polluted some years back with toxic effluents from a factory at Main near Patiala and Chambowali drain which joins Ghaghar at Chandu village. water and soil . we hardly see any hive around our villages’ villagers told us. There were large numbers of Dhaak and Dhaki trees.

digestive system disorders etc. During group discussions. People reported that apart from human beings. Moreover. We found quite a large number of issueless couples. Punjab today is witnessing the whole spectrum of ill effects on human health shown through various studies. in each village. this is an indicator that cancer is on the rise while reproductive health is deteriorating fast. The immunity of Punjabis is being ruthlessly damaged”. autism. it was also noticed that number of young deaths in last ten years is on the rise. This starkly visible disease pattern can be correlated to the toxicity load caused by environmental toxicity and prevalence of toxins in our eco-system and food chain. What we got from villagers is shocking data regarding cancers. cerebral palsy. Though it may be because of other reasons too. a young death is an indicator that something is seriously wrong in Punjab. At least 70% animals have become unproductive and sterile. stones in kidney and gall bladder. cows and buffalos are also losing reproduction capacity. ADD. raising infertility and other reproductive health disorders. the possibility of errors must certainly be there. people reported. other living forms including microbes and plants are gravely affected. Some farmers observe that desi hens are not able to . of such contamination. we also found cases of neurological disorders Children with mental retardation and congenital abnormalities. allergies and impaired immunity. Skin diseases are also very common in all villages. As farmers gave this information to us while sitting in front of us by recalling names. that too in all parts of Punjab. Dr Azad points out that this is a sign of impaired immune system in people of Punjab. It is hard to believe that the list of illnesses is much longer then we thought. however. The status of animal health in these parts seems to indicate that the toxicity everywhere has reached its threshold level. people reeled out high numbers of cancer deaths in addition to a long list of cancer patients under medication. humans. learning and behavioral disabilities and so on were identified. cases of miscarriages. increasing number of neurological disorders. spontaneous abortions and premature deliveries. More and more cows and buffalos are becoming sterile. even horses are reported to be getting sterile. They observe lesser lactation period and lesser reproduction cycles. ADHD. cattle. These animals are unable to conceive and miscarriages and abortions are increasing amongst these animals. It has come down to 5 from 15 reproduction cycles. Their milk productivity is also going down. wild animals.Wherever toxicity is high. Poisoning of ecology has a deep impact on animal health as well. We also found large number of patients with kidney problems. In each village we visited.

Punjab needs a people’s movement to take up the issue of life of our rivers and to keep alive Punjabi civilization. the animals are falling sick and dying. even several of us those who are now fighting for environment were not behaved in responsible . By giving a rousing call to the public. Patiala and Patran have contributed to the death of Ghaghar. After confirmation of presence of uranium traces in hair samples of children from Baba Farid Centre for Special Children and water and soil samples it is certain that Punjab is in midst of multiple environmental toxicity. fishes. the Finance Ministry of Punjab which is filling its pockets from taxes on these factories thus giving them a legal status and lastly. the people who remain silent and indifferent during this demolition are responsible for the death of a river and her ecosystem. Sant Balbir Singh Seenchewal has already taken an initiative in this direction. Moreover . I also found that I was also one of the culprits. When the villages had pasture lands. they say. they recall. the Revenue department and Directorate of excise and taxes. We have to evolve newer ways to punish those who are responsible for this devastation. their management. the animals used to give more milk. the government departments which gave clearances for the establishment and running of these factories. now. This is an indicator that it is situation of extreme emergency in Punjab. her inhabitants and Nature? Who is to be blamed for subjecting this whole area to this severe environmental health crisis? What has killed River Ghaghar and its thousands of animals. the officers with whose signatures these factories came into existence. the destruction of health and environment here and for the displacement of farmers. The factories of liquor and wine at Banaur. But question is . which adds to the financial burden of the families. tortoises. Let us start talking the political ecology.who is responsible for this ecological destruction? How are we going to restore justice to river Ghaghar. Though. These are environmental criminals who need to be held liable. Let people start thinking politically to punish the environmental culprits of Punjab. These animals cannot go to Ghagar now and farmers have to run pumps for water. “We are ruined due to the poisonous water that was allowed to flow in Ghaghar”. the Punjab Pollution Control Board which is primarily responsible for monitoring and controlling pollution and effluents.lay eggs properly. birds and other creatures? The answer is very simple . The owners of these factories.our Development model obsessed with high GDP. But we have still a long way to go.

Koharwala. Moga. The revelation has brought no change in her daily chores. Puckka. Faridkot. Member of a proud. at Bikaner. and her face is weary in the fading daylight. Her hair has turned white due to illness and heavy medicines. a 12-year-old boy died of cancer in Khara village and a 25-year-old woman has been detected with breast cancer. Manpreet Badal. Their suffering is starkly visible. The underground water is clinically unfit for drinking or for irrigation.” says Manpreet. she tells her story with immense dignity. Karamjeet is one of the five battling cancer in her village. The Jhoke Sarkari village. while people are dying in village after village of Punjab By Sandeep Yadav Faridkot/Muktsar Despite the relentless suffering. arthritis and greying of hair. Sangroor and Bathinda. landed family in Kotbhai village in district Muktsar. The green revolution has not really been so green. as young as ten. the Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Giddarbaha. Yet. except that she has to travel long distance for periodic check-ups at the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Centre. Recently. Even children. It’s the same story in several villages of Punjab—Jhariwala. hardworking women of Punjab. a massive environmental and health disaster. this mother of three has been diagnosed with uterus cancer. has 10 cancer patients. He has a list of 300 cancer deaths from Giddarbaha constituency alone. Although the government has claimed 172 cancer deaths in Muktsar district in the last two years. I feel we are also blameworthy and I am firm that all those who are guilty must be punished Green revolution’s cancer train Pesticides and cancer: a murderous concoction. comprising the districts of Muktsar. agriculture policy analyst. Bhimawali. contested the claim. “Punjab is in the grip of a terrible environmental and health crisis emanating from the intensive farming practices involving large doses of chemicals and pesticides in use for the past four decades. Similar cases of cancer deaths (apart from farmers’ suicides) have become the norm in the whole of Malwa region of Punjab.manner earlier. otherwise situation would have been different. There have been 15 cancer-related deaths in the last five years here. in Rajasthan.” says Devinder Sharma.year-old. in Faridkot district. And it doesn’t matter if it is her cancer she is talking about. The environment has been intensely contaminated by the rampant use and abuse of chemicals and pesticides. . “In the 50 villages falling in my constituency I have attended close to 300 funerals of people dying due to cancer in the last three months. are suffering from joint pains. so distinctive among the strong. 41-year-old Karamjeet Kaur is not scared of death. Khara.

All this has contributed to widespread social devastation in individual and community life. It is on record that “pesticides were a waste of time and efforts” in Asia for the cultivation of rice. in the southwest of Punjab. “The PAU continues to push pesticides. Centre for Science and Environment. After Sunita Narain. says that about 14 years ago the cotton in the region was attacked by the American ball worm— a deadly pest. Chandigarh.K. now publicly accepts its mistake in promoting pesticides.” he recalls. Director. the number of cotton pests has multiplied to over 60. but is using the highest amount—more than 18 per cent of pesticides in the country. But the irony of Punjab is that the agriculture establishments are not open to this bitter realism about pesticides.A comprehensive study conducted in the area by the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER). environment and development. instead of being eliminated are breeding heavily. the International Rice Research Institute. Director. Punjab has 2. There are many farmers who used more than 20 sprays of pesticides to kill the pest. today. insulated from alternative paradigms for sustainable agriculture. They are still gloating in the green-revolution mindset. Indeed. The expert group met at least once but the high-powered committee failed to meet even once in the last ten months. but were still unsuccessful. raised the issue of pesticide content in the blood of the people of Punjab last year. argues that the entire tragedy is a result of a conspiracy hatched between the scientists of the influential Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) and pesticide companies. genetically modified Bt cotton only. an NGO in Faridkot. Unaware of the harmful effects of the mindless use of pesticides pushed by the nexus of unscrupulous agencies and private companies. Predictably.” says Singh. Muktsar. Gurmail Singh. is a cotton belt that is now growing the controversial. There were six or seven kinds of pests that worried the farmers in the 1960s. He says that a pesticide called Monocrotophose is banned from being used on vegetables and fruits.5 per cent of the total agricultural land in the country. “The precautions are not binding as an official order since there are no such laws. and another expert group headed by Dr K. Talwar. Chandigarh. Malwa region. but the farmers don’t follow the warning. the greed of high yield overruled prevailing health concerns. the people of the region are paying a terrible price for their folly. headed by Chief Minister Amrinder Singh. Often wrongly advised by influential agricultural lobbies and profit sharks. In the case of cotton. Hence no legal action can be taken. Agriculture Development Officer. knowing too well that these were not required in the first place. PGIMER. scientists have compounded the problem by turning the ‘insect profile’ hostile. excessive and unsafe pesticides is directly responsible for the rapid and significant rise in the number of pesticide-related cases of cancers and cancer deaths. Studies by the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) have established that Punjab is facing a serious second-generation environmental crisis. brings out unequivocal evidence that the use of indiscriminate. Dr Harinder Singh. categorically blames the farmers for not adhering to the precautions related to the use of pesticides. in the Philippines. indiscreet. Umendra Dutt. Almost 40 years after the green revolution. a cotton farmer of Jaitu village. who. Meetings were fixed not less then five times but were postponed for one reason or another. “I used about ten pesticide sprays over three acres of land and still could not kill the pest. Farmers in Bangladesh. at Manila. . the Punjab government constituted two committees — one high-profile committee. which convinced the innocent farmers with a false promise: more pesticides.” says Dutt. more yield. executive director of Kheti Virasat Mission. Vietnam and the Philippines have successfully opted for pesticide-free cultivation.

it has not been able to provide its people a proper cancer treatment facility in the Bathinda region. So much so. says Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM).large-scale environmental degradation with the strong chemical pesticides having led to contamination of water bodies. food and air. are doing their best to educate the farmers about health and environment issues.While the Punjab government is busy clearing multi-crore SEZs. certainly not the powerful green-revolution lobby. a non-governmental organisation working in the area. Punjab's Malwa region. It is only when you go to the villages that you realise how much the environmental pollution . the train plying between Muktsar and Bikaner has been rechristened as the ‘cancer train’ by the locals. The Punjab government paid a meagre relief amount to some cancer patients. and save the people from cancer and other diseases directly related to top-heavy policies and the vested interests of pesticide lobbies? The wake-up call has been buzzing non-stop and for a long time. While NGO’s such as Kheti Virasat Mission. According to the National Cancer Registry Programme. out of 424 cancer patients from Bathinda district. once referred to as 'Makheon meetha Malwa' (sweeter than honey) for its rich agricultural produce and cotton farming. "Punjab is in great danger. for their treatment. But no one’s listening. or survive. in Rajasthan. kidney ailments and infertility as a result of large-scale use of pesticides and fertiliser. is today battling environment-related health problems including a noticeable rise in cancer cases. waiting for death. Poor cancer patients are forced to go to distant Bikaner. in abject pain. the state government’s role is starkly insensitive and lackadaisical. even to the extent of asking them to pledge that they will do only organic farming. 328 were being treated at Bikaner. While the people die. The green revolution of the 1970s that brought a windfall to the farmers in terms of prosperity is now revealing its sorry side-effects -. But can half-hearted doles of monetary help stop the epidemic? How will the government stop the ecological degeneration and health crisis.

farmers. and like the humans there they have developed bone problems. labourers -. women. The dance of death by cancer is everywhere. says Dutt." he says.there is no distinction. right from grandparents to children. comprising the cotton belt. and cancer deaths are taking place every year. Bathinda.has affected the people there. Moga. married. have more than 5-10 cancer cases. forcing women and schoolchildren to spend valuable time in fetching potable water from approved sources. it is the woman who is blamed for not being able to bear children. poor. Faridkot. "The water is not fit to be given even to animals.young. The high toxicity in the environment has affected the cattle too. Dutt and his team went on a door-to-door survey in Ferozepur. According to Dutt. His team also saw many kidney patients. you will get to see girls and boys as young as nine years with greying hair. plus numerous other health problems . the total dissolved salts (TDS) in the water bodies is much higher than permissible levels. . mentally challenged children. The disease takes an economic toll on the families as they are forced to sell their land to get the victims treated. Every village has faced cruelty of deaths -. diabetic patients and young men with fertility problems . Ferozepur. who is from Ferozepur. Mansa. reproductive health diseases and an alarmingly high number of childless couples. including the smaller ones." KVM head Umendra Dutt told IANS. Muktsar and Bathinda districts a few months ago and met the people there. "What we saw is very disturbing and terrifying. The death count includes those as young as 4-5 years. Dutt and his team came across several cases of childhood arthritis. rich." Each village. Their milk yields have gone down. old. single. When this happens. They do not walk properly and the cows are not conceiving properly. There are five to 10 cancer cases in each village. Faridkot and Muktsar. Barnala and Sangrur in the noncotton growing belt and the rest. "Most people don't even know what went wrong in the last few years. said Dutt. signifying that ageing is setting in early." The Malwa region consists of nine districts with Ludhiana. men. In the Malwa region.

He feels the government should withdraw all pesticides and adopt natural farming -. This will reveal the level to which the toxins are affecting the people. India's Deadly Chemical Addiction By Madhur Singh Tuesday. "Whatever the geography of the area permits. Dutt feels that the region "needs a pesticide holiday and should be declared an environmental hot spot". 2008 . adding that successive state governments lacked the "political will power" to tackle the situation. An angry Dutt says that the "study has diluted the aspect of high use of pesticides in the area. It found that cancer cases were indeed high and attributed it to "more use of pesticides. pesticide companies and dealers are brothers-inarms in disaster to push the area into the lap of environmental death and are against the shifting to organic farming". we should grow that only.000 people to check for pesticide levels and also do a check on the breast milk of mothers. "The government should do a blood sampling of 100.agriculture without chemicals. Jun." he said. including women? So how does tobacco feature in the area as a cause at all?" He maintains that "the agriculture departments." He proposes that the government carry out a house-to-house epidemiological survey on the causes and distribution of pesticide-induced diseases. Tobacco is against the Sikh religion and how can people in a largely Sikh area be accused of tobacco use. 10. tobacco and alcohol".A study was done on the rising cancer cases in Talwandi Sabo block in Bathinda by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) more than two years ago.

But farmers soon discovered that the cotton was highly susceptible to pests. Nadar Singh. A June 2005 study by the new Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment found residues of between 6 and 13 pesticides in blood samples of villagers from Mahi Nangal. such as pink bollworm and aphids. a village of only 3. waiting to board a train known as the "Cancer Express" On a scorching June afternoon in Jhajjal village in southwestern Punjab. children being born with genetic disorders. a 24-year-old day laborer. elderly men have gathered in a communal courtyard to quell the boredom of the long afternoon with a game of cards. says there have been some 20 cancer-related deaths during the last five years in Jhajjal. a boy. "A 23-year-old died of cancer in our village last year. and the conversation centers around marriages and births. Bala. and the farmers have a few weeks' holiday before they must return to their fields. sits with family members on a platform in Bhatinda. farmers reacted by laying on even more. her second child. Initially the move was successful as yields and prices were good. Jajjal and Balloh villages in Bhatinda district. Not long after. became increasingly resistant to chemical spraying. The cotton crop has been sown. was born with a neurological disorder and has recently been diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Here even kids have cancer. Last month.." Punjab's lethal pesticide legacy can be traced to the Green Revolution of the 1960s and '70s.Indian cancer sufferer Mukthiar Singh. people of all ages succumbing to cancer. Surinder Singh. the executive director of the rural NGO Kheti Virasat. But these usually mundane topics have taken on a tragic twist. Evidence continues to mount that the problems are severe." India's rural activists for years have blamed the overuse and misuse of pesticides for a pervasive health crisis that afflicts villages like Jhajjal across the cotton belt of Punjab. damaged genes can give rise to a range of cancers as well as neurological and reproductive disorders. I know he won't survive" she says. sometimes mixing two or more . a government-funded study revealed that chemical fertilizers and pesticides have seeped into the groundwater in four Punjab districts and are causing an alarming array of ecological and health problems including cancer and mental retardation. As with most small villages. the village headman. "His treatment is so expensive that we have had to borrow large amounts of money. "But such news has stopped shocking us. involving couples failing to conceive. "Punjab is paying with its life for a dubious promise of prosperity. Recent research by Punjabi University at Patiala established evidence of DNA damage among agricultural workers exposed to pesticides. second to right.. when high-yielding varieties of cotton were introduced in the region's relatively arid Malwa belt. As the pests. everyone knows everyone else here. and ended up spending huge amounts on pesticides." he says.200. says. worked for two months in the fields during the spraying season four years ago.

although the government announced plans to build one last year. the government must ensure that it doesn't repeat the mistakes it made the first time around. and Israel to devise technologies that are more sustainable. but we don't know how to fight this addiction. A daily passenger train that runs from Bathinder to Bikaner in neighboring Rajasthan is nicknamed the "Cancer Express" because it routinely fills a dozen cars with patients and their attendants on their way to a charitable hospital. Punjab on 05 28th. for which it is partnering with countries like the U. It is promoting herbal pesticides and extending outreach programs to better educate farmers about the dangers of pesticide overuse—not only in this region but all over Punjab. which pioneered the Green Revolution]should come up with an alternative. Farmers claim it is greedy dealers who push them to spray more. "We've got our land addicted. Punjab cannot pay with the lives of its next generation. as Surinder Singh of Kheti Virasat points out.products against all scientific evidence. the government doesn't seem to have a plan of action. Health. India." says Nadar Singh." he says. a 35-year-old resident of Jhajjal who was diagnosed with leukemia three years back and goes to Bikaner every six months for a blood transfusion. Punjab Pollution Control Board is holding a meeting in the coming weeks to decide what action to take. and many scientists have been calling for a return to crops more suited to the local landscape—in the case of the Malwa region. Some farmers are taking up organic farming. The expense of spraying put many farmers deep in debt. there is no government-run cancer hospital in the Malwa region.S. a 93-yearold patriarch in Jhajjal." The health impact on the region is shocking. Workers who spray the chemicals blame landlords for not investing in protection. There's plenty of blaming going on. Pesticide companies blame farmers for not adhering to prescribed quantities and not using protective gear. but they never seem to do anything. it's all chemicals. the chief of Jhajjal. pulses and cereals like bajra and maize in addition to cotton—to restore the biodiversity of the soil." says Santosh. Human Rights. "but the price has been too high. "The Punjab farmer basks in the glory of making Punjab the bread basket of India. It is looking at developing and introducing transgenic crops and other advances in biotechnology. though piecemeal steps are afoot." Faced with the latest studies on the effects of pesticides on the ecology and on people's health. Despite the high incidence of cancer. The Congress Party–led government in Delhi has been talking about the need to launch a second Green Revolution. "Officials sometimes visit our village. we used less water. "Earlier. and companies for not properly informing them of the dangers of exposure. For the moment. "The agriculture department and the PAU [Punjab Agricultural University. Politics. The region virtually became a chemical laboratory. yet they remain vulnerable to outbreaks such as a mealy bug attack last year that destroyed 70% of the crop. But. Now. and also blame the government's failure to change its policies after the harmful side effects of the Green Revolution began showing. 2008 | View Comments ." says Sarmukh Singh." Census of farmer suicides Posted by Reema in General. "We know what we are doing is not sustainable. traditional crops and organic manure.

500 villages in Gurdaspur and about 575 villages in Sangrur out of the 12. . All this has contributed to widespread social devastation in individual and community life. it is learnt.5 per cent of the total agricultural land in the country. Though whole of Punjab is to be covered under the study. indiscreet. During the first phase of the survey. The Punjab Government seems to have finally woken up to the need of having a census on farmers’ suicides in the state. Gurdaspur and Sangrur initially. PAU. Sidhu. “The PAU continues to push pesticides. Farmers have excessively used pesticides which have polluted the drinking water. today. 2005. has the [sic] entrusted the arduous task of completing the census to the Punjab Agricultural University. Chandigarh. but I hope that it has at least stopped pushing farmers to use pesticides as it used to. brings out unequivocal evidence that the use of indiscriminate. PAU will conduct a door to door survey in about 1.S. knowing too well that these were not required in the first place. The census will take into account farmer suicides occurring after April 1. excluding suicides of farm laborers. “The state government has asked us to do the work and we have taken it up as a research project. In the case of cotton. The census will be conducted by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). the state government has asked us to do a pilot project in two districts of Punjab. Rising pesticide and fertiliser costs. shrinking land holdings. As per Dr R. The report from this initial phase is set to be completed in four months from the beginning of the survey. based in Patiala Ludhiana. which is set to begin in the next couple of weeks.” says Dutt. A comprehensive study conducted in the area by the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER). head of the Department of Economics. instead of being eliminated are breeding heavily. The PAU isn’t expected to have a perfect record to qualify to conduct the census. which has led to high yield overruling health concerns. Punjab has 2. the number of cotton pests has multiplied to over 60. who. There were six or seven kinds of pests that worried the farmers in the 1960s. but is using the highest amount—more than 18 per cent of pesticides in the country.000 villages in Punjab. A related issue is the increasing rate of cancer stemming from excessive use of harmful pesticides since the Green Revolution (which other langarites have blogged about as well). scientists have compounded the problem by turning the ‘insect profile’ hostile. The state government. excessive and unsafe pesticides is directly responsible for the rapid and significant rise in the number of pesticide-related cases of cancers and cancer deaths. declining soil fertility and heavilysubsidized farming in wealthier countries are some of the factors blamed for these suicides. upon bad advice from influential agricultural lobbies and profit sharks.The Punjab government has finally allocated funds to assess the breadth of farmer suicides in the state.

Impact of Green Revolution Resource Type: Articles/Knowledge Sharing Author: Sushil Kumar Patial Member Level: Gold Posted Date: 09 May 2008 Rating: Points: 4 Category: General . but it is not yet widespread. unlike in other Asian neighbors. They are still gloating in the green-revolution mindset. Organic farming is being introduced mainly by ngos. even to the extent of asking them to pledge that they will do only organic farming. It is on record that “pesticides were a waste of time and efforts” in Asia for the cultivation of rice. the train plying between Muktsar and Bikaner has been rechristened as the ‘cancer train’ by the locals. ‘Organic farming’ is slowly being introduced and used in very small scales in Punjab. in the Philippines.Other Asian regions have acknowledged the unnecessary and harmful effects of excessive use of pesticides. Vietnam and the Philippines have successfully opted for pesticide-free cultivation. But the effects of excessive use of pesticides and pollution of water have already taken root. are doing their best to educate the farmers about health and environment issues. Farmers in Bangladesh. the state government’s role is starkly insensitive and lackadaisical. insulated from alternative paradigms for sustainable agriculture. But the irony of Punjab is that the agriculture establishments are not open to this bitter realism about pesticides. environment and development. now publicly accepts its mistake in promoting pesticides. Almost 40 years after the green revolution. the International Rice Research Institute. at Manila. While NGO’s such as Kheti Virasat Mission.

The experience of the Green Revolution in Punjab is anexample how science takes credit for successes and frees itself from all responsibility for failures. those benefits were closely related to the high subsidies and price support. Economic and political impact of GreenRevolution 2. It is an illustration of how modren scientific project is politically and socially created and how it builds its immunity and obstructs its social assessment. since the conflits are also rooted in the ecological. It not only led to ecological insecurity but also social and political insecurity. leads to the creation of new technologies which create new scarcities in nature through ecological destruction. The Green Revolution was based on the assumption that technoloty is a betteralternative for nature's limitss. It offers technological fixes for social and political problems. Ecological impact of Green Revolution 1. especially the rich ones. The Green Revolution has many impacts which have drewn intense praise and equally intense criticism ---1. Economic and political impact of GreenRevolution Inspite of the fact that the Green Revolution brought initial monetary benefits to many farmers. . These kind of subsidies could not moved further indefinitely and farmers in Punjab are now facing increasing indebtedness. Social. Social. and technolgy as a source of plenty. However the assumption of nature as a source of shortage. There is in fact an evidence of a decline in the real income per hectare of farmers since 1978. in part. economic and political impacts of the Green Revolution. on externalizing the political impacts of technological change from the domain of science and technology. not abundance. but detaches itselffrom the new social and political problems it creates. illustrates that at the ecolotical level. The communalization of the Problem. which basically arose from the policical transformation linked with the Green Revolution was based. the Green Revolution Produced scarcity. The reduction in availability of fertile land and loss of diversity of crops as a resuld=t of Green Revolution. It is deceptive to reduce the roots of the Punjab crisis to religion.

they have become increasingly dependent on those companies that manage the input of HYV(High Yielding Variety) seeds. 2. The World Bank has also rendered help by granting four loans to the National Seeds Project since 1969. increased vulnerability to pests. In the period between 1970 and 1980 . have been particularly badly hit. water shortage. constraining the development of the inexperienced industry. Despete a succession of wateer-sharing agreements between Punjab. and those for whom it turned into an instrument of dispossession. outside the market system. including the MNCs in the production of seeds. Increasing the nitrogen uptake plants by using artifical fertilizers upsets their carbon/nitrogen balance causing matabolic problems to which the plant reacts by taking up extra water. The continued commercialization ha HYV seeds has been actively encouraged by the Word Bank. reduced soil fertility. has undoubtedly contributed to the development of Punjab nationalism. soil erosion. This type of involvement was thought to be for seeds did not expand as espected. the number of small holding in the Punjab decreased by nearly a quarter due to their economic no-feasibility The major beneficiaries of Green Revolution have been big farmers and the agrochemical industries. Rajasthan and Haryana. while in Haryana local politicians are trying hard for its completion. Many complaint that Punjab is bing treated like a lolony in order to provide cheap food for urban elites elsewhere in India. because it implies that the new seeds are high yielding of themeselves but actually they are highly responsive to certain key inputs such as fertilizers and water. centralizing control over water supplies and leading to both local and inter-state water conflicts. there is an increasing conflict over both the availability of wather and its quality. farmers are actively campaigning to stop the construction of the Satluj -Yamuna Link Canal which will take water to Haryana. The worsening condition of the peasantry in the Punjab which is largely made up of Sikhs. Petty farmers. Loss of Diversity--- . without being affected by widespread resistance from the farmers who choose to retain exchange seeds among themselves. A a result of increasing dependence of peasants on off farm inputs. A study conducted between 1976 and 1978 pointed out that small farmers' households were running into an average deficit of about 1500 rupeens. The fourth loan which was allotted in 1988 was particularly desired to encourage the investment of the private sector. 2.The increased utilization of capital for purchasing inputs has produced new inequalities between those farmers who could use the new technolgy profitably. It has led to reducedgenetic diversity. Intensive irrigation has led to the need for large scale storage systems. who make up nearly 50% of the farming community. In the Punjab. Ecological impact of Green Revolution The Green Revolution has been a failure as far as ecology is concerned. the new seeds perform worse than the indigenous varieties. micronutrient defiencies and soil contamination1) The Myth of High Yields--The term 'high yielding varieties' is a wrong name or word.

the displacement of vast numbers of small farmers from their land. concludes regarding rice. the 'high yielding varieties' are susceptible to major pests with a crop loss of 30-100%. Increasing Pesticide use----Because of their narrow genetic base. water shortages. breakdown in resianstance to dcan occur rapidly and in some instances replacement varieties may be required every three years or so. a in the rest of India. The Green Revolution has reduced genetic diversity at two levels. Such diversity contributed to ecological stability. 3. manufacturers of agricultural machinery. Vol. the higher its vulnerability to pests and desease. in the Punjab the rice variety PR 106 which currently accounts for 80% of the area undercultivation. HYVs are inherently vulnerable to major pests and disease. it replaced mixtures and rotations of crops like wheat. As the Central Rice Research Institute. . It has led to reduced genetic diversity. The beneficiaries have been the agrochemical industry. 2. was considered resistant to white backed planthoppper and stem rot when it was introduced in 1976. increased vulnerability to pests. soil erosion. The Green Revolution in the Punjab By Vandana Shiva From The Ecologist. 21.. dam builders and large landowners. micronutrient deficiencies. First.Diversity is a central principle of traditional agriculture in the Punjab. stem borer and several other insect pests. Even where new varieties are especially bred for resistance to disease. rural impoverishment and increased tensions and conflicts. and hence to ecosystem productivity. soil contamination. in Cuttack. the introduced wheat and rice varieties came from a very narrow genetic base. March-April 1991 reproduced by permission of the Editor The Green Revolution has been a failure. reduced availability of nutritious food crops for the local population. The lower the diversity in an ecosystem. On this narrow and alien genetic base the food supplies of millions are precariously perched. millets. The “miracle” seeds of the Green Revolution have become mechanisms for breeding new pests and creating new diseases. large petrochemical companies. No. it has since become susceptible to both diseases. Second. in addition to succmbing to rice leaf folder. maize. pispa. reduced soil fertility. pulses and oil seeds which monocultures of wheat and rice.

”. Land reform was viewed as a political necessity and. Above all. intended to “release” Indian agriculture from “the shackles of the past” through the introduction of modern intensive chemical farming. The programme achieved major successes. the rate of growth of total crop production was higher during this period than in the years following the introduction of the Green Revolution. Yet. another vision of agricultural development was taking shape within the international aid agencies and large US foundations. the Punjab is beset with diseased soils.In 1970. the US wished to avoid other Asian countries’ following in the revolutionary footsteps of China. is often credited with having transformed India from “a begging bowl to a bread basket. . the rest of the Third World) could have increased food availability. Ceilings on land holdings were also introduced. However. Instead of abundance. and the Punjab is frequently cited as the Green Revolution’s most celebrated success story. the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. the US Agency for International Development and others looked towards the intensification of agriculture as a means of “stabilizing” the countryside . a detailed farming strategy—the “land transformation” programme — was put forward. two decades of the Green Revolution have left the Punjab riddled with discontent and violence. Indeed. indeed. Instead of peace. launched by Borlaug’s “miracle seeds”. to consider every individual village and sometimes every individual field. until the 1960s.and in particular of defusing the call for a wider redistribution of land and other resources. far from bringing prosperity. at a seminar organized by the Ministry of Agriculture. pestinfested crops. to fix reasonable rents and to abolish the zamindari (landlord) system. most states initiated measures to secure tenure for tenant cultivators. the Punjab has inherited conflict and violence. Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing highyielding varieties (HYVs) of wheat. Origins It has often been argued that the Green Revolution provided the only way in which India (and. while Indian scientists and policy makers were working out self-reliant and ecologically sound alternatives for the regeneration of agriculture in India. The “Green Revolution”. India was successfully pursuing an agricultural development policy based on strengthening the ecological base of agriculture and the self-reliance of peasants. agencies like the World Bank. The strategy recognized the need to plan from the bottom. waterlogged deserts and indebted and discontented farmers. In 1961. following independence. In 1951.’ Yet. the Ford Foundation thus launched its Intensive Agricultural Development Programme in India. Alarmed by growing peasant unrest in the newly independent countries of Asia.

nine more IARCs have been added to the CGIAR system. pesticides are frequently used without protective clothing But native varieties of wheat in the Third World. . when subject to intensive fertilizer applications. the Rockefeller Foundation. however. in co-operation with the Ford Foundation. Over the last two decades. without lodging. Due to poverty. the second and Spraying pesticides in India. the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) was formed to finance the growing network of international agricultural centres (IARCs). and to educate people in the appropriate agricultural techniques. Whilst the government’s First Five Year Plan viewed artificial fertilizers as supplementary to organic manures. It concentrated on one-tenth of the arable land. The Myth of High Yields The term “high-yielding varieties” is a misnomer. The programme came to be known as the New Agricultural Strategy. agrochemicals and irrigation schemes. or fall over. the Ford Foundation had been pushing for increased fertilizer use by Indian farmers. and initially on only one crop—wheat. however. were specifically designed to overcome this problem: shorter and stiffer stemmed. the President of the World Bank. By 1968. to which they were highly receptive. By the mid 1960s. Since the early 1950s. at the initiative of Robert McNamara. A host of new institutions were established to provide the research required to develop further the Green Revolution. India’s agricultural policies were geared to pushing the introduction of the new “miracle” seeds developed by Borlaug. because it implies that the new seeds are high yielding of themselves. (Photo: Mark Edwards/Still Pictures) tend to “lodge”. The distinguishing feature of the seeds. is that they are highly responsive to certain key inputs such as fertilizers and irrigation water. nearly half the wheat planted came from Borlaug’s dwarf varieties. they could absorb chemical fertilizer. Since 1971. FAO has played a key role in promoting the Green Revolution package of “improved” seeds. By 1969. The new ‘dwarf’ varieties developed by Borlaug. In 197 1. The term “high responsive varieties” is thus more appropriate. irresponsible subsequent plans gave a direct employers and ignorance about their health effects. as had the World Bank and USAID with some success.Adding to the perceived geopolitical need to intensify agriculture was pressure from western agrochemical companies anxious to ensure higher fertilizer consumption overseas. had established the Centro International de Agriculture Tropical (CIAT) in Colombia and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria. and crucial role to fertilizers. to disseminate the seeds.

The gain in output is insignificant compared to the increase in inputs. The result has been a massive increase in the use of pesticides. in addition to succumbing to rice leaf-folder. HYVs are inherently vulnerable to major pests and diseases. On this narrow and alien genetic base the food supplies of millions are precariously perched. stemborer and several other insect pests. the introduced wheat and rice varieties came from a very narrow genetic base. India.”3 Even where new varieties are specially bred for resistance to disease. Of the thousands of dwarf varieties bred by Borlaug. in a country like India. in Cuttack. First. Most of the highyielding varieties released so far are susceptible to major pests with a crop loss of 30.In the absence of additional inputs of fertilizers and water. hispa. which currently accounts for 80 per cent of the area under rice cultivation. in addition. The natural vulnerability of HYVs to pests has been exacerbated by other aspects of the Green Revolution package. leaf-folder. “breakdown in resistance can occur rapidly and in some instances replacement varieties may be required every three years or so.2 Loss of Diversity Diversity is a central principle of traditional agriculture in the Punjab. the higher its vulnerability to pests and disease. The lower the diversity in an ecosystem. etc. Out of this diversity. brown planthopper. and hence to ecosystem productivity. whore maggot. in . crops have traditionally been bred to produce not just food for humans. Large-scale monoculture provides a large and often permanent niche for pests. Second. notes of rice: “The introduction of high yielding varieties has brought about a marked change in the status of insect pests like gall midge. only three were eventually used in the Green Revolution. In the breeding strategy for the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution package has reduced genetic diversity at two levels. An increase in the marketable output of grain has been achieved at the cost of a decrease in the biomass available for animals and soils from. Comparative studies of 22 rice growing systems have shown that indigenous systems are more efficient when inputs of labour and energy are taken into account. causing metabolic problems to which the plant reacts primarily by taking up extra water. India is a centre of genetic diversity of rice. turning minor diseases into epidemics. millets. fertilizers have been found to lower plants’ resistance to pests. But. and a decrease in ecosystem productivity due to the over-use of resources. but fodder for animals and organic fertilizer for soils. for example. The measurement of output is also biased by restricting it to the marketable elements of crops. Increasing the nitrogen uptake of plants through using artificial fertilizers upsets their carbon/ nitrogen balance. as in the rest of India.100 per cent. was considered resistant to whitebacked planthopper and stem rot when it was introduced in 1976. It has since become susceptible to both diseases. the rice variety PR 106.”4 In the Punjab. much of the increased yield obtained by planting the new HYV varieties consists of water. As the Central Rice Research Institute. it replaced mixtures and rotations of crops like wheat. the new seeds perform worse than indigenous varieties. pulses and oil seeds with monocultures of wheat and rice. Such diversity contributed to ecological stability. Significantly. Increasing Pesticide Use Because of their narrow genetic base. Indian peasants and tribals have selected and improved many indigenous high yielding varieties. multiple uses of plant biomass seem to have been consciously sacrificed for a single use. stems and leaves. maize.

Twenty years of “Farmers’ Training and Education Schemes”.7 One result of the Green Revolution has therefore been to create conflicts over diminishing water resources. Only four per cent of the Punjab is now “forest”. however. Marginal land or forests have been cleared to make way for the expansion of agriculture. Since the start of the Green Revolution. rotations have been abandoned. Traditional varieties of sorghum yield six pounds of straw per acre for every pound of grain.9 tonnes per hectare. Increased fertilizer use. the area under wheat. In terms of water use. Soil Erosion Over the centuries. irrigation was only used in the Punjab as an insurance against crop failure in times of severe drought. need intensive irrigation as an essential input for crop yields. Yet the costs of pesticides or of breeding new “resistant” varieties was never counted as part of the “miracle” of the new seeds.from legume to wheat to wasteland. copper. has nearly doubled and the area under rice has increased five-fold. “soil bandit”. and cropland is now used to grow soil depleting crops year-in. therefore. During the same period. In recent surveys. This has contributed to the thirty-fold rise in fertilizer consumption in the state since the inception of the Green Revolution. A recent survey by the Punjab Directorate of Water Resources. as against 42 per cent for India as a whole. Partly as a result of soil deficiencies. . over half of the 8706 soil samples from the Punjab exhibited zinc deficiency. the area under legumes has been reduced by half. Water Shortages Traditionally.5 The result of such agricultural intensification has been “a downward spiraling of agricultural land use .itself creating still further pest problems due to the emergence of pesticide-resistant pests and a reduction in the natural checks on pest populations. however. magnesium. Although high-yielding varieties of wheat may yield over 40 per cent more than traditional varieties. Where crops are dependent on groundwater for irrigation. most of this being plantations of Eucalyptus. 84 per cent of the Punjab is under cultivation. By contrast modem rice varieties produce equivalent amounts of grain and straw. High-yielding varieties rapidly deplete micronutrients from soils and chemical fertilizers (unlike organic manures which contain a wide range of trace elements) cannot compensate for the loss. In addition. the fertility of the Indo-Gangetic plains was preserved through treating the soil as a living system. however. Micronutrient deficiencies of zinc. has shown that 60 out of the 118 development blocks in the state cannot sustain any further increase in the number of tube wells. Today. reducing yields of rice. has removed a major source of free nitrogen from the soil. for example. wheat and maize by up to 3. for example. if unwilling. with soil-depleting crops being rotated with soil building legumes. the water table is declining at an estimated rate of one-third to half a metre per year. The “miracle” seeds of the Green Revolution have thus become mechanisms for breeding new pests and creating new diseases. they are less than half as productive. in spite of increasing levels of fertilizer application. the new HYVs reduce the supply of fodder and organic fertilizer available to farmers.”6 The removal of legumes from cropping patterns. has not compensated for the over-use of the soil. have transformed the Punjab fanner into an efficient. molybdenum and boron are thus common. the productivity of wheat and rice has declined in many districts in the Punjab. The new seeds. manganese. iron. they need about three times as much water. year-out.

Social Impact Although the Green Revolution brought initial financial rewards to many farmers. the World Bank has made four loans to the National Seeds Project. A representative of a Punjab farming organ stated in 1984: “For the past three years. they become susceptible to diseases and pests. the Green Revolution HYVs have to be replaced frequently. Indeed. In 1986. which will take water to Haryana to irrigate 300. As peasants have become more and more dependent on “off-farm” inputs.” . local politicians are lobbying hard for its completion. whilst in Haryana.” Intensive irrigation has led to the need for large-scale storage systems. irate farmers in the Ropar district of the Punjab. where the Link Canal begins. outside the market framework. And the peasant becomes dependent on the seed merchants (see Box). Unlike the traditional high yielding varieties which have co-evolved with local ecosystems. especially the more prosperous ones. Obsolescence replaces sustainability. The fourth loan—disbursed in 1988—was specifically intended to encourage the involvement of the private sector. and those for whom it turned into an instrument of dispossession. those rewards were closely linked to high subsidies and price support.000 hectares for Green Revolution agriculture. HYV seeds are illustrative. despite widespread resistance from farmers who prefer to retain and exchange seeds among themselves. Such subsidies could not be continued indefinitely and farmers in the Punjab are now facing increasing indebtedness. constraining the development of the fledgling industry. in seed production. We have been held hostage to feed the rest of India. Many complain that the Punjab is being treated like a colony in order to provide cheap food for urban elites elsewhere in India. virtually forced the Irrigation Department to abandon work on the project. We are determined that this will change. A survey carried out between 1976 and 1978 indicates that small farmers’ households were running into an annual average deficit of around 1500 rupees. In the Punjab. there is evidence of a decline in farmers’ real income per hectare from 1978-79 onwards. we have increasingly lost money from sowing all our acreage with wheat. so they have become increasingly dependent on those companies that control the inputs. Such involvement was considered necessary because “sustained demand for seeds did not expand as expected. farmers are actively campaigning to halt the construction of the Sutles-Yamuna Link Canal. including multinational corporations. Small farmers—who make up nearly half of the farming population—have been particularly badly hit. The increased capital intensity of fanning—in particular the need to purchase inputs—has generated new inequalities between those who could use the new technology profitably. which is largely made up of Sikhs. The worsening lot of the peasantry in the Punjab. has undoubtedly contributed to the development of Punjab nationalism.8 The prime beneficiaries have been larger farmers and agrochemical companies. In May 1988. Since 1969. Rajasthan and Haryana. Despite a succession of water-sharing agreements between the Punjab. the number of small holdings in the Punjab declined by nearly a quarter due to their “economic non-viability”. After three to five years’ life in the field. The further commercialization of seeds has been actively encouraged by the World Bank. 30 labourers were killed at one of the construction sites. centralizing control over water supplies and leading to both local and inter-state water conflicts. there is increasing conflict over both the availability of water and its quality. Between 1970 and 1980.

Economic and Political Weekly. 15 October. Ibid. 1984. Bayliss-Smith. 1983. B. Westview. The strategy and rhetoric are the same. 1982. It is highly unlikely that the second revolution can succeed where the first failed. 409. 1979. Delhi. Like the first Green Revolution..A Second Revolution There are two options available for getting out of the crisis of food production in the Punjab. Swaminathan. CGIAR. Cambridge University Press. S. Kang. by reducing input costs. farmers are being encouraged to replace the “old technologies” of the first revolution with the new biotechnologies of the second. in Understanding Green Revolutions. Debra Dun. and to substitute wheat and rice grown for domestic consumption with fruit and vegetables for the export market. 7. International Dimensions of the Environmental Crisis. the other is to make food production economically and ecologically viable again. a book published by Vandana Shiva.B. Concept. the Indian government appears to have adopted the former strategy. 5. Dogra. 8. Ecology and Development (Zed. “Contradiction of Punjab Model of Growth and Search for an Alternative”. T. 1989). 248001 India. Empty Stomachs and Packed Godowns. M. the second is being promoted on the promise of “peace and prosperity”. 6. Boulder. Vandana Shiva is director of the Research Foundation for Science. Integrative Report. Washington. One is to continue down the road of further intensification. Gill. 4.. 1989. THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF THE GREEN REVOLUTION IN PUNJAB (INDIA) .S. DC. Debra Dun.. Ibid. References 1. D. Her latest book to be published in the West is Staying Alive: Women. Sadly.). p. and Wanmali S. The production of staple foods is being virtually ignored. This article is extracted from The Violence of the Green Revolution: Ecological Degradation and Political Conflict in Punjab. S. 105 Rajpur Road. seeking to solve the problems of the first Green Revolution by launching a second. Colorado. 1984. 3. “Environmental Problems of the Green Revolution with a focus on Punjab. 2... Science and the Conquest of Hunger. 1988. New Delhi. London. “The Green Revolution at Micro Scale”. India” in Richard Barrett (ed. Technology and Natural Resource Policy.S.

I will apply these two models to describe the causes and effects from the Green Revolution in Punjab in India. The Pressure and Release model Although this model is constructed specially in cases that lead to disasters. 42 lakh hectares are under agriculture. you will find this by the page in her book in brackets. For this paper I use the book from Vandana Shiva ‘The violence of the Green Revolution– Third world agriculture. so much. and also for agricultural students both in the North and South.23): 1 Root causes  2 Dynamic pressures  3 Unsafe conditions  Disaster  Hazards Guus Geurts g. I will end with the conclusions. In chapter three I will apply this model to the situation in Punjab after the Green Revolution. and thinking in economic growth with externalising negative effect. people’s vulnerability. Note: Because I like the words which Vandana Shiva chooses and the integration of all elements in her text. The model consists of five parts (Blaikie 1997 p. a lot of this paper is coming directly from her book. according to the book of Vandana Shiva. Since 1965 the Green Revolution has taken place in this countrystate. This is a clash between thinking in balances in ecological and social systems. it is also applicable to the Green Revolution. This province is lying in the Northwest of India at the border with Pakistan.. Platteland en Milieu aan de KUN.geurts@student.kun. The strong part of this book is the comparison she makes between the western and traditional Indian vision on development in agriculture. Davis and Wisner. geschreven in 1991. Study-subject: Stad. to the situation in Punjab. platteland en milieu (cursus OS 2002) University: Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen Nijmegen. Her conclusion is that applying the western vision by the Green Revolution only brought disaster to most of the people and the ecological system. written in 1991. In chapter two I will describe the pressure and release model from Blaikie. Of the total area of 50. Davis and Wisner in 1994 and reprinted in 1997. maart 2001.nl Studentnummer: . in het kader van de cursus Stad. Cannon. Cannon.38 lakh hectares of Punjab. and has through five big rivers streaming in it naturally a high fertility and also a high population density. The most of chapter three is also coming from this book. 2. ecology and politics’. When I use her words literally.Bespreking van het baanbrekende boek “The Violence of the Green Revolution” van Vandana Shiva. In chapter four I will describe and apply in the model of Access to Resources of Blaikie et al. To my opinion this book should be on the compulsory literature list of each student which studies environment and/or development of third word countries. and disaster” written by Blaikie. 5 March 2001 9912460 Introduction In this paper I will use the models of “Pressure and Relief” and “Access to Resources” which come from the book “At Risk – natural hazards.

Fragile local economy. These include reduced access to resources as a result of the way regional or global pressures such as rapid population growth. export promotion. Most of the mentioned hazards are natural caused hazards. drought and/or virus and pests. mining. The most important root causes that give rise to vulnerability (and to produce vulnerability over time) are economic. settlement locations. structures or resources 2. demographic. training. So vulnerable is not used in regard to livelihoods. hydropower development. Macro-forces like rapid population growth. local investment. local markets. and political processes. like special groups at risk or lack of social institutions 4. although in some there is also a manmade component. Lack of local institutions. and deforestation work through to localities. or infrastructure. . Examples of this unsafe conditions are people having to live in dangerous locations. war.25). people having little food entitlements. arms expenditure.24) Dynamic pressures In the model: 1. vulcanic eruption. These affect the allocation and distribution of resources between different groups of people. appropriate skills.24) Unsafe conditions In the model: 1.’ (Blaikie p. epidemic disease. foreign debt and structural adjustment. hurricane. Vulnerable society. Ideologies like political or economic systems Root causes or underlying causes are ‘a set of well-established. like lack of disaster preparedness or prevalence of endemic disease ‘Unsafe conditions are the specific forms in which the vulnerability of a population is expressed in time and space in conjunction with a hazard’ (Blaikie p. widespread processes within a society and the world economy. Fragile physical environment. or entitlements that are prone to rapid disruption. (Blaikie) Hazards In the model: Earthquake. The difference between unsafe and vulnerable is that people are vulnerable and live in or work under unsafe conditions. like livelihoods at risk or low income levels 3. press freedom and/or ethical standards in public life 2. like dangerous locations or unprotected buildings and infrastructure 2.’ (Blaikie 1997 p. rapid urbanization. rapid urbanisation. buildings.This process means the progression of vulnerability Root Causes In the model : 1. typhoon). Limited access to power. flooding. landslide. deforestation and/or decline in soil productivity ‘Dynamic pressures are processes and activities that ‘translate’ the effects of root causes into the vulnerability of unsafe conditions (…) that have to be considered in relation to the types of hazard facing those people. debt repayment schedules. High winds (cyclone. Public actions.

At this point the physical hazard triggers to create a disaster. .Disaster In the model: Risk = Hazard + Vulnerability The disaster is only happening when hazard and the vulnerability combined are big enough to lead to a disaster.

• The western vision on science Science takes in this vision ‘a dual character. Being separated from their material and political roots in the science system.11) In this book she however connects the ecological and cultural crisis. both analytically as well as at the level of political action. ‘Two major crises have emerged on an unprecedented scale in Asian societies during the 1980s. They ‘generate inequalities and domination by the way knowledge is generated and structured.23). There were several root causes that lead to this development.14). but delinks itself form the new social and political problems it creates’ (p.22) So also in Punjab along to this vision religious differences between Sikh and Hindus are the cause of conflicts. religion.3. the goal was to stabilise the rural areas politically and create peace and prosperity in rural India. water and genetic resources.15). and hence a means of producing growth.1 Root causes The Green Revolution started around 1965 in Punjab. to combat scarcity and dominate nature to generate material abundance.21) Shiva calls this the process decontextualisation. and by the way in which such knowledge transforms nature and society’ (p. (Howard 1940 in Shiva p. Application of the Pressure and Release model in Punjab By applying this model I use particularly the book of Vandana Shiva ‘The violence of the Green Revolution – Third world agriculture. Davis and Wisner. new forms of scarcity and social conflict are then linked to other social systems e.’ (Shiva 1991 p. The Green Revolution is also used as a techno-politic strategy (combination of science and politics) ‘that would create abundance in agricultural societies and reduce the threat of communist insurgency and agrarian conflict’ (p.25) they were regarded by western vision as primitive and backward.’ (p. Comparable with Vermeersch in ‘De ogen van de panda’ (1988) who calls this the ScienceTechnology-Capital-system. The two crises are usually viewed as independent. 3. instead of the here mentioned root causes of the Green Revolution. the way it is legitimized. Shiva says that the conceptual framework of western science is compatible with the needs of commercial capitalism. The second is the cultural and ethnic crisis and the erosion of social structures that make cultural diversity and plurality possible as a democratic reality in a decentralised framework. or the ocean’. of the prairie.21).’ (p. In the traditional agricultural systems people used their excellent knowledge to create a balance between the resources of nutrients and water. In this vision ‘technology is a superior substitute for nature. land. It offers technological fixes for social and political problems. in which ‘the negative and destructive impacts of science on nature and society are externalised and rendered invisible. The first is the ecological crisis and the threat of life support systems posed by the destruction of natural resources like forests. So with the help of foreign capital and experts. ecology and politics’. • The western vision on development Shiva defines in this vision ‘development’ as a strategy with the help of capital and technology. ‘Cropping systems . unconstrained by nature’s limits’ (p. ) ‘Through this split identity is created the “sacredness” of science. • The western vision on agriculture Although the agriculture of Asian ‘are almost as permanent as those of the primeval forest. Cannon. In this chapter I will try to structure her book by using the Pressure and Release model of Blaikie.g.

12) Instead of the traditional vision of diversity.’ (p. finding. ‘This vision was based not on cooperation with nature. finance.include a symbiotic relationship between soil. and taking shape in American foundations and aid agencies.105) The use of chemical fertilizers was also pushed by international agencies. water. farm animals and plants ‘(p. they opened up new markets for chemical fertilizers. the World Bank and US AID.69) As a result western expert ‘mistakenly believed that their technologies could substitute land. not taken into account in the assessment of yields. the American Government. forcing India to devaluate its currency and to provide favourable conditions for foreign investments. Some of the mentioned organisations made sure that indigenous varieties were lost. American advisors and experts came with the aim to shift India’s agricultural research and policy ‘from an indigenous and ecological model to an exogenous. but on the intensification of credit and purchased inputs like chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Between 1952 and 1970 the mentioned organisations did everything to promote the Green Revolution. • The centralisation of politics that results in a central state which controls agricultural policy. For example due to pressure of the World Bank and IRRI the MPRRI was shut down. providing credit. inputs and prices of agricultural commodities.’ (p. They had conserved 20. government policy. IRRI seeds were called “Seeds of Imperialism”. through for example education of Indian students. the World Bank. It was based not on diversity but uniformity. because wherever the new seeds went. (p. The other was the exogenous way. This was the indigenous way of handling the food crisis after participation in 1947. decentralization and democracy this western vision concentrates on the demands of uniformity of the market. the seed and chemical multinationals. ‘A policy of planned destruction of diversity in nature and culture to create the uniformity demanded by centralised management systems.29). They were ‘preserving and building on nature’s process and nature’s paterns’ (p. ‘The rise of the market and rise of the state that was part of the Green Revolution policy led to the destruction of community and the homogenising of social relations on purely commercial criteria. and Swaminathan became Director of IRRI (the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines) which with support from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations was developing new high yielding varieties of rice. and chemicals could replace the organic fertility of the soils’ (p. importing liberalisation.104). of course partners in sections of the elite. but on its conquest. The main supporters of the Green Revolution strategy Subramaniam became agriculture minister in 1964. the central Government of India and the various agencies it controls. however. centralization and militarization. eliminating of domestic controls. which are. The fertilizer push was an important factor in the spread of new seeds. also propagated by Gandhi.000 rice varieties and were doing research to develop a high yielding strategy based on indigenous knowledge of the Chattisgarh tribals.’ (p. • Pressure through the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. It was based not on self-reliance. because the new model suited their political priorities and interests’ (p.69). and high input one. and the self-reliance of the peasants of the country. credit. when ‘American producers of fertilizer were anxious to ensure higher fertilizer consumption overseas to recoup their investment. This system was based on strengthening the ecological base of agriculture. ‘In the Philippines.44)’ Also the opening up of markets was important.29) ‘The seed / chemical package sets up its own interactions with soils and water systems. but dependency.’ (p. The shift from internal farm inputs to centrally controlled external inputs shifted the axis . It was based not on the intensification of nature’s processes.26).

’ (p. It involved a shift from mutual obligations within the community to electoral politics aimed at state power for addressing local agricultural issues.175) .of political power and social relations.

the so cold High Yielding Varieties (HYV) These ‘miracle’ seeds were designed to overcome the limits placed on chemically intensive agriculture by the indigenous seeds. This leads to desertification through waterlogging and . They became ‘central to breaking out of nature’s limits and cycles. and by ‘the replacement of old varieties of wheat with new varieties of wheat and rice’ (p. but are a function of the availability of required inputs. aimed primarily at increasing transnational profits and First World control over the genetic resources of the Third World. Plant breeding strategies of maintaining and enriching genetic diversity and self-renewability of crops were substituted by new breeding strategies of uniformity and non-renewability. • Land degradation caused by: water logging salinization of the soil desertification and water scarcity destroying water resources destruction of soil fertility micronutrient deficiency soil toxicity. The water cycle can be destabilised by adding more water to an ecosystem than the natural drainage potential of that system. This higher need for water was caused by ‘the shift from water prudent crops such as millets and oilseeds to monocultures and multicropping such as wheat and rice’.000-year evolutionary history of crops by changing the fundamental nature of seeds. (see also unsafe conditions and disasters) The dramatic increase in water use has led to ‘a total destabilisation of the water balance in the region. So intensive irrigation was required mainly by building large dams and applying surface irrigation.3. The Green Revolution changed the 10. which in return have ecologically destructive impacts. other negative ecological effects and poverty under the local population.’ (p. genetic erosion which resulted in explosive growth of pests in the crops. especially the availability of water was sufficient. The dynamic pressures I discern are land degradation. protected by patents and intellectual property rights. The Green Revolution contains the following components which all can lead to dynamic pressures: • use of new crops (wheat) and new varieties (rice).125). by high use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers biomass reduction used for fodder and organic manure The Green Revolution only functions properly when the physical environment.2 Dynamic pressures As a result of the root causes the Green Revolution started in Punjab around 1965.63) • use of chemical fertilizers • use of pesticides • use of mechanisation and petroleum • intensive and accurate irrigation. As a result of these components of the Green Revolution a lot of negative effects occurred.’ (p.36) The ‘miracle seeds’ of the Green Revolution transformed the ‘common genetic heritage into private property. mostly made possible by building of dams High yields are not intrinsic to the seeds. Most of them were decreasing of access to resources as a result of regional pressures. Peasants and plant breeding specialists gave way to scientists of multinational seed companies and international research institutions like CIMMYT and IRRI.

with high gifts of these three minerals. This process also occurred because millet and course-grain were replaced by wheat and grain. These outputs have also to be uniform likes the central market wants them. ‘In regions of scarce rainfall. “This process implies a downward spiralling of agricultural land use – from legume to wheat to rice to wasteland”’ (Kang (1982) in Shiva p.’ (p. for example fluorine -. Also the heavy use of chemical fertilizers and new seeds directly led to decreased soil fertility. because otherwise as a result of high fertilizer input they would lodge and the crop would be lost. Also the animals provided organic manure. (…) The rich alluvial plains of Punjab which have a very negligible slope suffer seriously from desertification induced by the introduction of excessive irrigation water to make Green Revolution farming possible. due to over-exploitation. . ‘As Kang has cautioned. copper.129) The problem salinity arises through intensive irrigation in arid regions.104). just like in one third of the world’s irrigated land. maize. ‘Where irrigation is dependent on ground water.5 and 2.72) So they used straw from the harvested crops and other through westerns considered wastes to feed the farm animals. ‘The indigenous cropping systems are based on internal organic inputs. the earth contains a large amount of unleached salts.’ It is estimated that about 0. are salt affected and produce either no yields or very poor yields. So the straw production was much lower. with negative effects on soil fertility through lower input of biomass. As a result deficiency of micronutrients as zinc. selenium and aluminium toxicity. pulses and oil seeds were replaced by monocultures of wheat and rice the introduced wheat and rice varieties reproduced over large-scale as monocultures came from a very narrow genetic base. (p. As a result of replacing pulses by wheat and rice the nitrogen fixing capacity of crops was lost.116) As a result of the reductionist approach only the output of crops were counted. in which nutrients are produced by the soil through plants. boron -. Soil toxicity arose through irrigation and high chemical fertilizer input. It is ‘posing a threat to crop production as well as animal health’.140) So half of the development blocks in the state cannot sustain any further increase in the number of tubewells. ‘The nutrient cycle. and returned to the soil as organic matter is thus replaced by linear non-renewable flows of phosphorous and potash derived from geological deposits. The new varieties were however selected by producing little straw. and not divers like the traditional crops which partly were used for own food. and nitrogen derived from petroleum’ (p. • Genetic erosion caused by: ‘mixtures and rotation of diverse crops like wheat. millets. so more fertilizers were needed. The results were new defiences and diseases. iron.109-110). the water table is declining at an estimated rate of one to one and a half foot every year. Desertification of this kind is a form of water abuse rather than water use. manganese and magnesium arose. because the soil productivity (which also needs organic mass) was lowered and the nutrient recycling was disturbed.7 lakh hectares in Punjab (about one third of the total area). compared to the high genetic variability in the populations of traditional wheat or rice plants. Pouring irrigation water into such soils brings those salts to the surface and leaves behind a residue when the water evaporates.’ (p.128) ‘Land gets waterlogged when the water table is within 1. but not the loss in maintaining the conditions of productivity.’(p.’ (p. This led to a western NPK-mentality. and/or to increase soil fertility.1 metres below the ground surface.salinisation of the land.81) which resulted in explosive growth of pests in the crops.’ (p.

the higher is its vulnerability to instability.95) • Other negative ecological impacts: greenhouse effect with atmospheric pollution pesticide contamination of soil. as is CO2 produced by more use of mechanisation instead of hand labour. rice cultivation in Punjab is vulnerable to about 40 insects and 12 diseases’ (p. (…) Most of the high yielding varieties released so far are susceptible to major pests with a crop loss of 30 to 100 %…’ (p. The focus was on internationally grains. • Poverty under the local population caused by: indebted farmers . Also ‘common lands under forests and pastures have been put under agricultural crops. ‘The vulnerability of rice to new pests and diseases due to monocropping and a narrow genetic base is also very high.93) The Green Revolution however resulted in high replacement rates of the new varieties in wheat.’ (p. As a result of high use of chemical fertilizers NO2 is released. 1940) in Shiva p. As the Green Revolution spread. which is a greenhouse gas. and divers varieties by varietal simplicity. (…) Even those high yielding varieties of crops. Even if certain diseases occur.‘At present. This leads ‘to ever increasing demands for pesticides.’ (p.89) ‘Most of the released varieties are not suitable for typical uplands and lowlands which together constitute about 75 % of the total rice area of the country.78) ‘The crop and varietal diversity of indigenous agriculture was replaced by a narrow genetic base and monocultures.98) Diversity was a central principle of the indigenous breeding strategies. These former nature areas. or land races are resistant to locally occurring pests and diseases.’ (p.45) As a result of the formal mixed cropping and using many varieties the growth of pests was controlled. The less the diversity and the more the uniformity in an ecosystem.90) ‘Howard believed that the cultivators of the East had a lot to teach the Western Experts about disease and pest control and to get Western reductionism out of the vicious and violent circle of “discovering more and more new pests and devising more and more poison sprays to destroy them” ((Howard. ‘Indigenous varieties. Yet the new costs of new pests and poisonous pesticides were never counted as part of the ‘miracle’ of the new seeds that modern plant breeders had gifted the world in the name of increasing ‘food security’. Thus there is a linkage between heavy use of fertilizers and vulnerability of pests. which are specially bred for disease resistance become highly susceptible to certain types of diseases when heavy doses of fertilizers are applied. where also less suitable for constant keeping under soil depleting crops. local community management broke down and grazing lands and forest were broken up for monoculture cultivation.9798) mostly unknown before the Green Revolution. because after one or two years the varieties gets overtaken by pests. some of the strains maybe susceptible. ‘Howard could teach the world sustainable farming because he had the humility to learn it first from practising peasants and Nature herself. and a strategy of eliminating mixed and rotational cropping.’ (p.’ (p. ‘Diversity contributed to ecological stability. breakdown and collapse. while others will have the resistance to survive.’ (p.94) Howard regarded the Indian peasants and even the insects and fungi themselves as his professors of agriculture. water and animal life lost of common lands under forests and pastures The Green Revolution puts new demands on scarce renewable resources like water. and hence to ecosystem productivity. and generated new demands on non-renewable resources like fuel. (…) Cropping systems based on diversity thus have a built-in protection’ (p.94-95) Also ‘the shift from organic to chemical fertilizers reduces the plants resistance to pest attacks.

many people had ended up as paupers when their land was acquired for the construction of the Bhakra main canal. So not through redistributive justice but through economic growth. were replaced because by using machinery the landowner could do the work in his own (with some land labourers).. when by building dams their ground is flooded. It was possible to get credits and loans from banks. decreased. but in years that the harvests or prices were low. millets and other crops As a result of the Green Revolution agriculture of many different crops was replaced by mainly rice and wheat.’ (p. So this system was not sustainable in a region with a high population.’ (p.45) ‘Peasant movements had tried to restructure agrarian relationships through the recovery of land rights. • Pesticide contamination of food. Owing to this the supply of local produced food which contains all needed proteins. and try to get work as land labourer. minerals and vitamins. with much labour available. farmers needed much more money to purchase them. So they get indebted. Also by using machinery hand labour was replaced. The science and technology of the Green Revolution excluded poor regions and poor people as well as sustainable options. In worst cases after a few years they had to sell their land to bigger farms.50) Through increasing material prosperity the goal was to defuse agrarian unrest. Next to this big farmers who first had tenant farmers on their land who did all the work and had to give a part of the harvest to the landowner. • Building dams with by heavy rainfall can lead to floods (see also disasters) • Creating injustice and inequalities During Green Revolution ‘technologies created were directed at capital intensive inputs for best endowed farmers in the best endowed areas.3 Unsafe conditions Following the dynamic pressures vulnerable situations are created for the people of Punjab. ‘. pesticides and the buying of the new varieties instead of saving (free) seeds from last years harvest. landless farmers and land labourers got in worsened conditions. As a result of all this small farmers. Several displaced farmers had become drug addicts while many others had turned into alcoholics. Also many farmers have to leave their land.) ‘By-passing the goals of .. (…) The science of the Green Revolution was thus essentially a political choice. when canals have been built. the rural area of Asia had to be pacified. food and water got contaminated.’ (. If people want this crops who were produced outside the region at least the prices increased because of the transportcosts. so people got unemployed or could only work during planting and harvesting seasons..landless farmers unemployed or only seasonally employed land labourers building dams or irrigation canals As a result of the high inputs of chemical fertilizers. and human life As a result of the much higher use of pesticides since 1965. water. oilseeds. These include: • Nutritional imbalances as a result of the reduction of pulses. The Green Revolution tried to restructure social relationships by separating issues of agricultural production from issues of justice. But ‘injustice has been at the root of the worst forms of scarcity throughout history and injustice and inequality has also been at the root of societal violence.’ (p.161) They also risk waterlogging and salinisation of their land. and directed away from resource prudent options of the small farmer in resource scarce regions. especially small farmers couldn’t pay back their loans. 3.

in which people worked in the community or village on mutual (though asymmetric) obligations. After the Green Revolution farmers were more working on their own. food procurement agencies. between the local farming community and the central state.4 Hazards The natural hazards which can damage Punjab are: • Heavy rainfall • Drought 3. The Green Revolution limits the provisioning of irrigation to a smaller region. The conflicts have developed between classes. seed and fertilizer agencies. When hazards occur this can lead too much more risk for the most vulnerable people.’ (p. Next to this it generated an erosion of cultural norms and practices and it sowed the seeds of violence and conflict. Before the Green Revolution farmers were dependent on each other for example during planting and harvest time and to maintain the irrigation system.164) Water conflicts in Punjab are already taken places between 1950 and 1990. For example the conflict between Punjab and Haryana goes about ‘sharing of river waters in a context of exploding demands for water.’ (p. These include: • Hunger and shortage of drinking water Due to building of dams. The Green Revolution strategy for peace had boomeranged.5 Disasters As a result of the unsafe conditions and the hazards disasters can arise.57) The increased demand for water by intensive irrigation caused by the Green Revolution led to social and ecological disruptions. (parts from p. All those effects of Green Revolution led to growing inequalities and injustice. Water scarcity has also been aggravated by the indiscriminate felling of trees. changed. After Green Revolution cultivators where fragmented and atomised and related directly to the state and the market (banks. Thus leading to inequalities. between the states of Punjab.’ (p. the conflict is no longer merely over how the water should be shared. but worsened during the last 25 years caused by: .equality and sustainability led to the creation of new inequalities and new scarcities. After two decades. Haryana and Rajasthan and between the representatives of the Sikh and Hindu religion.172) 3. because they can not longer rely on their community. but also over how much water there is to share. In creating new polarisation. between local people and small and big farms. it created new potential for conflict. ‘causing a shortage of drinking water in the catchment of the Pandoh dam. Differences arose between farmers with more or less money and farmers who had the possibilities to sustain their farm or not. Also the number of indebted and landless farmers rose (see dynamic pressures) and the situation of land labourers got worse.143) • Conflict and violence This has led to at least 15. and electricity and irrigation organisations) instead of to the community. between regions. the blasting of rocks for the construction of the dam and the diversion. ‘Social considerations of equity favour the extensive use of irrigation water which assures a protective dose of water over as large an area as possible.000 people killed between 1985 and 1991. by using explosives to construction natural springs and waterways are blocked. Also the traditional culture.

Waterlogging does not recognize farm boundaries. (p. ‘Intensive irrigation also introduces conflicts between private and social interests. These conflicts were rooted in the cultural erosion of the Green Revolution. leading to violence.’ (p. ‘Conflicts related to religion-cultural factors and revolving around Sikh identity. the decline of profitability of modern agriculture etc.174-175) ‘The paradox of separatism is that it is a search for identity in a framework of uniformity. it is a search for identity in a structure based on erasure and erosion of identities.149) Before the dams the older canal systems of Punjab were regionally managed within the State since the 19th century. In a context of diverse communities.’ (p.’ 2. the increased demand for water for Green Revolution agriculture. this polarised thinking gets expressed with the added dimension of religious discrimination against the Sikhs. the use of labourdisplacing mechanisation. which commercialized all relations. the centralisation of water control to the central government for example by building large dams. handing down decisions in all matters. Religious revivalism which emerged to correct the moral and social crisis crystallised finally in the emergence of a separist Sikh identity. ‘With government as referee. all heading to a disaffected peasantry engaged in farmers’ protests.’ 3. the pauperisation of the lower peasantry.’ (p. But community management of resources has been the first casualty in the privatisation thrust of the Green Revolution. Related to conflicts emerging form the very nature of the Green Revolution. such as conflicts over river waters..139) So this leads inevitable to conflicts. which are not resolvable immediately. while ‘they’ have gained privileges unfair.175-176) • Floods . and between the states and the Centre.’ (p. that centralised control leads to communal and regional conflict.144) According to Shiva the centralisation has increased the ecological and social vulnerability of Punjab. and created an ethical vacuum where nothing is sacred and everything has a price. Conflicts related to ‘the sharing of economic and political power between the centre and state. ‘Mega projects thus tend to centralize power and the loss of power by the federating units becomes a cause for conflict. which have further fuelled waterconflicts between neighbouring states. ‘The centralised control of the Bhakra system had made the Indus basin more vulnerable to floods.- political fragmentation of Punjab. ‘We’ have been unjustly treated. as well as to water scarcity. each frustration becomes a political issue. The shift from Sikh farmers (who are the majority in Punjab) demands to the demand for a separate Sikh state comes from the collapse of horizontally organised diverse communities into atomised individuals linked vertically tot state power through electoral politics. class conflict. The ecological crisis of the Green Revolution is thus mirrored in al cultural crisis caused by erosion of diversity and structures of local governance and the emergence of homogenisation and centralised external control over the daily activities of agricultural food production.’ (p.172) In short ‘three kinds of conflicts seem to have converged in creating what has been called the Punjab crisis: 1. and drainage cannot be managed except as a community activity. Ever policy decision is translated into the politics of ‘we’ and ‘they’. In Punjab.

(…) 80 % of the standing crop was destroyed.500 people were killed. ’65 % of its 12. Contrary to the Pressure and Release model. which contains small farmers and land labourers. For this two groups I will make both apply this model.146) 4.’ (p. and released water ‘without even warning to the thousands of people who live close to embankments of the two rivers.000 villages were marooned. 34 lakh people in 10 of the state’s districts were affected. to the situation in Punjab after the Green Revolution. . which I applied in the whole state of Punjab. after a period of heavy rainfall. Application of the Access to Resources model in Punjab In this chapter I will apply the Access to Resources model of Blaikie et al. Very much blame went to the central dam management board (BBMB) who filled the dam above the maximum storage capacity. I will choose a small village.This happened in September 1988. and 1. this model is only applicable at village level.

depending on agriculture for self reliance only or for markets also 6. plants.working for big farmers. severeness of soildegradation. in contrary to the times before Green Revolution.1.only choice is to work as much as possible during planting and harvesting season. chemical fertilizers.total income of wages by labour . A Households .land.less access to common property resources. A Income opportunities .choice of crop.increasing pesticide use caused by ever increasing diseases and pests 5. since Green Revolution . Social relations and flows of surplus For both small farmers as land labourers after the Green Revolution the mutual dependency of other farmers and other people living in the village.wages depends on relationship to landlord.working skills for land labour 4. As a result of growing inequalities and independence the risk of conflict is higher. pest and permanent diseases. no power . Household budget .total income of food and money from sold products to the market or traders 7. tools. especially markets or traders during particular seasons B Access qualifications . . availability of water .relations to markets and traders and decreases wages every year .relationship to landlords . In times of poverty or disaster other people in the village are not so much inclined to helping each other. pesticides and seeds . leading to debt . water resources. .re lations to banks for loans. little capital.knowledge of soil.relations to traders/companies selling fertilizers.growing crops for self reliance and/or .degraded soils by salinisation and waterlogging.landlords keeps on mechanising.centralised watercontrol . Small farmers 2.labour 3. cattle Land labourers .20 families of land labourers .food and money depends on: the weather. Choices of the household . leading to decreasing crop outputs . pesticides and seeds . Job only at seasons or . Livelihood . labour.10 small farms B Their resources and assets . Structures of domination . decreased.

Bharat.. In fact that is what happening all over the world. people’s vulnerabiltity and disasters (Second edition). Agricultural Testament. the macro instead of the micro level. Ian & Wisner. As a result of this cycle after one year some small farmers may have decided to sell their land to bigger farms and become land labourer. Outcome of decisions When harvest is lost or too low for several years . The Pressure and Release model was for me much more appropiate to explain the causes and effects of the Green Revolution. (1994) Green Revolution: no joy for the poor In Return to the good earth – Damaging effects of modern agriculture and the case for ecological farming (pp. Nijmegen. (1940). Conflicts which arose are much more a result of the political. Reader studievaardigheden 2001 Culturele antropologie Ontwikkelingsstudies. Ben (1997). than to religious differences between Sikh and Hindu which always were mentioned before as the cause of violence. Conclusions The Green Revolution was particularly a fight between western visions on development. so the to get higher wages farmer may have to sell his land. Literature Blaikie. Alfred. economic and cultural processes inherent to Green Revolution. (2001). Third World Network Howard. if further increased those limits. D. So after a few years time the rural population will decrease and the urban population increase.204).the possibility to explain the root causes. Environmental problems of the Green Revolution with a focus on Punjab. Decisions 9. but most people and ecosystems of Punjab lost. International dimensions of the environmental crisis (p.8. (ed). Routledge CIDIN. Westview Press . London.stay in the village or move to the city the indebtness may grow too high. India. insecurity and vulnerability. Although even the Green Revolution was bounded by ecological limits. Also some land labourers may have decided to leave the village and move to the city to have a better chance on a better livelihood. generating new levels of scarcity. Malaysia.S. The main advantages in my opinion are: . The western vision who promised so much won. and by attempting to break out of them. At risk – natural hazards. (Second edition) Penang. Terry & Davis. (1982). London. Boulder. Oxford Kang. Piers & Cannon. Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen Dogra. the surveyability and clearness of this model. 242-244). in Richard Barett. than the Access to resources model. agriculture and science and the indigenous Indian vision.

My earliest memories of Punjab comprise of gorging hungrily on my favorite makki di roti and sarson da saag and the friendly & hospitable Punjabi households. According to Gurudev Singh Kush. “Fortunately. known as the torchbearer of the Green revolution. However. ecology and politics. there were little or no efforts to educate the farmers about the high risk associated with the intensive use of pesticides. an example of the living success story of the Green revolution. Punjab. Zed books – Third World Network Vermeersch. (1991) The violence of the Green Revolution – Third world agriculture. A comprehensive . large scale famines and social & economic upheavals were averted. taking place in Punjab and I decided to write this article to voice out my anguish. Antwerpen. However. with the consequences of the Green revolution coming under constant global scrutiny. that it also earned the sobriquets like the “Bread basket of India” and “India’s granary”. 2010 @ YouthKiAwaaz → No Comments 3Share By Radhika Naithani: Even though Punjab is not my native city. While Green revolution provided a few solutions to the problem of food security. The main objective was to gain food security through scientific methods. without doubt. indebted and discontent farmers. which transformed India from “Begging bowl” to “Breadbasket”. which is suffering from its adverse consequences. pest infested crops. The Green revolution project included massive use of pesticides. Punjab started facing a completely new range of problems like decaying soil. my bond with it goes back to the time when I was 12 years of age. Because of this intimacy with Punjab. improved irrigation projects. Etienne (1997) De ogen van de panda – Een milieufilosofisch essay (Negende druk). the picture is no longer rosy. London. Year 1966 – 1967 were the years of the “Green revolution” in India.Shiva. thanks to the marked increase in cereal grain yields in many developing countries that began in the late 1960s”. one of the pioneers of the Green revolution. use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and improved crop varieties. So much so. my heart cried when I read an article on the environmental degradation. Punjab is. also happens to be the first state. Stichting Leefmilieu The Dark Side of The Green Pastures [Adverse Effects of Green Revolution on Punjab] July 22. Vandana.

renal failure. farmers and dealers ignore these safety instructions. However. What is the government doing about this? You may wonder. and most of the farmers are themselves reluctant to go back to the old ways as it gives them a lower yield in the beginning. However. endosulfan. and the need to wear protective gears while dealing with pesticides. These killer pesticides are HCH. However. The Bhopal gas tragedy is an example of the extent of irreversible damage caused by hazardous chemicals. they also remain ignorant. Punjab is not an isolated case. DDT. the government alone is not to bear the sole responsibility. stillborn babies and birth defects. It is imperative to frame a comprehensive strategy to tackle this menace. Punjab. The Punjab government has acknowledged the gravity of the situation but mere acknowledgement is not a solution. In 1970s. I believe the pesticides companies also have a corporate and a moral responsibility to spread awareness and to educate the farmers on the safe use of pesticides. Protective gears should be distributed free of cost. aldrin. These dealers themselves are unaware of the hazardous nature of these pesticides. Take any sample from any randomly selected well and there is a good chance that it shall be rich in pesticides. In addition. However. Kartar Kaur’s three sons died of cancer in the village of Jaijjal. It should be a joint effort of the government and the private companies. It is very important to wear protective clothes while spraying insecticides. but the government agencies are not doing much to assist the farmers in this area. a huge dosage of pesticides revolutionized the farming ways in India. It is Punjab . The government agencies should get to work and send health inspectors to these villages to counsel and train the farmers on the use of pesticides. only than can we hope to achieve some progress. The price Punjab had to pay for food security comprises ailments like cancer. the pests grew immune to the pesticides & the farmers in desperation started pumping out even higher quantity of these. Punjab alone accounts for 20% of India’s pesticide consumption. The authorized dealers are no better. There are instructions on the container of pesticides clearly mentioning how much pesticide should be used. chloropyrifos and malathian. This excessive use of chemicals not only contaminated the air. these committees have failed to come up with a solution to the problem. However. The state puts the blame on the centre and the centre retaliates by saying that health is a state list subject. six to thirteen different varieties of pesticides is virtually present in all the blood samples. Take a trip through Punjab and you will find an unauthorized dealer of pesticides in almost every nook and corner. With no counseling provided to them by the government. Organic farming is one of the solutions. If we are contemplating organic farming as an option. farmers should get proper assistance. however we still have not learnt our lesson and the government continues to stay blind to the situation in Punjab. pesticides and herbicides. the government should conduct raids and keep a check on the growth of unauthorized dealers selling adulterated pesticides. which prove to be more lethal than unadulterated pesticides. soil and the water table. The only thing they have achieved to do so far is conducting ‘studies’ and ‘surveys’. and the results were good. which conducts meetings rarely even while the villagers are dying a slow death. in due course. Breast milk and cow’s milk also contain traces of these killer pesticides.study conducted by the Post Graduate Institution of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) has shown a direct connection between the use of pesticides and growing incidents of cancer in the region. but adulterated pesticides also became a threat to all the plants and humans who are exposed to these. or to provide awareness. Well it is forming “COMMITTEES”. According to a study conducted on the blood samples of the villagers by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

. and take adequate steps to combat the many ills of the green revolution.today but it can be some other state tomorrow. Its time the state and centre wake up to the seriousness of the situation.

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