All cracked up
The Uttar Pradesh government is now mulling over a bill to check groundwater overuse
The Uttar Pradesh government is hard at investigating widespread land subsidence in several districts during the second week of June this year. According to the Geological Survey of India (gsi), Lucknow, cracks appeared in districts Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jalaun, Etawah, Lucknow and Kanpurdehat (see map: Caving in). Measuring up to 3.5 m in width and 1m in depth, the cracks sparked off fears of an earthquake, an assumption gsi, Lucknow and the chief secretary strongly denied.
According to the district magistrates, the district of Hamirpur witnessed cracks in three out of four blocks, Mahoba in four out of seven blocks; Lucknow had cracks at two places, Etawah and Jalaun one place each. Most of this tract has alluvial soil with underlying clay and hard rock, the latter making it difficult for water to seep deep inside, so reducing recharge and availability of groundwater.
According to Deepak Srivastava, deputy director, gsi, Lucknow, the subsidence was a result of the