Outcall: Hotel and home visits
You must be logged in to view this content. Please click the button below to log in.Login
In eastern India, farmers from the state of West Bengal need to grow crops during both the wet and dry seasons to earn a decent livelihood and sustain food supplies for a population that approaches million. However, water tanks and ponds are often dry by January, leaving scant surface water until the monsoon rains start six months later. Groundwater, thus, becomes a critical resource for dry-season farming. Research by the International Water Management Institute , which leads WLE, had an instrumental impact on groundwater policy reform in West Bengal in which, in turn, improved the livelihoods of tens of thousands of smallholder farmers, according to an evaluation conducted in and But the policy changes, which made it easier for smallholder farmers to buy electric irrigation pumps, now may need to be tweaked to avert potential groundwater depletion. IWMI researchers examined the situation after agricultural growth in West Bengal had slumped from around 5 percent a year in the s and s to 2 percent annually in the s. Researchers referred to the data they had collected during several years of fieldwork under a Tata Trusts-funded program, and additionally examined farmer behavior and economics, and the costs and benefits of various groundwater management options. They identified access to groundwater as a major obstacle to agricultural productivity. But there was some good news: Unlike some parts of India, ample, untapped groundwater resources existed.
The melting pot that is East London is gaining a distinctive new flavour — thanks to the arrival of thousands of Bangladeshi-Italian migrants fleeing economic stagnation in southern Europe. An estimated 6, such families have come to the UK from Italy over the past three or four years, the majority settling in East London. They might be a drop in the ocean compared with the estimated , white Italians resident in the capital, but they are making their mark in the Tower Hamlets Bangladeshi community and beyond, opening coffee shops and forming their own welfare associations to help new arrivals. On the predominantly Bangladeshi Cannon Street Road in Whitechapel, squeezed between East London Hairdressers and Sylhet Newsagents, Caffe Italia — with its green, white and red hoarding — looks like one of the old-school Italian coffee bars that opened in London in the s. The small shop has been lovingly furnished with smart black tables and designer red chairs, imported from Italy. Downstairs, the brick walls of the courtyard have been painted with the green and red Bangladeshi flag. According to the most recent census, there were , Bangladeshi immigrants living in Italy in