AFTER the deluge, the drought. The Northeast, which experienced 26 per cent excess rainfall during the last monsoons and reeled under unprecedented floods, is now facing conditions exactly the opposite. Absence of rainfall for the past five months has produced a never-before drought condition in the majority of the region’s states, giving rise to some peculiar situations. Consider these:
- In Nagaland’s capital Kohima, residents walk or drive up to five km to fetch their daily quota of water;
- The management of the famous Kamakhya temple atop a hill in Guwahati contemplates a closure of the temple since there’s no water to wash the deity;
- Tea gardens in Assam and Tripura have missed the first flush production for the new season for lack of winter rains;
- In Manipur major rivers have dried up, forcing unprecedented water supply cuts;
- So worried are the people in Assam that the long-dead tradition of ‘marrying off frogs’ to propitiate the rain god has been revived at various places.