In South Arcot district electricity generated from the Mettur project was made available. They wanted electric pumps to be used for pumping out water from wells and tanks. The place was getting absolutely barren. The villagers were cutting down cashew nut trees. They were quite good trees and not diseased ones. On enquiry the people said that they had nothing to eat and they were cutting the trees and making them into charcoal and selling them and getting a livelihood that way. They said that since the giant electric poles had come they could not cultivate their lands. They said electricity was used for pumping out water. "They sold electric pumps and all those who had money bought them.
We have no money to buy them. The people who are already rich purchased them. They pump the water out; the result is that all the wells that are 30 feet or so deep become dry and the poor people are without water. We used to take out water with the use of bullocks. Even our tanks have gone dry." The plots which looked like land were originally tanks. Formerly when there was no electric pump, the rich were also cultivating Towar etc. Now they have converted the land into garden crops. They are growing all kinds of fruits.What happens to these fruits? They go to Bombay, Bangalore, Madras and Calcutta. So the water is being transferred to Bombay, Bangalore, Madras and Calcutta because of the electric pump and the poor people's food has been cut out. To save themselves from starving they are cutting own trees and making charcoal and trying to keep body and soul together for a while. Now we see where the Mithaiwala economics leads us to! People were cheated and it has resulted ultimately in ruining the poor people. We see how this seemingly good scheme ruins the people. Therefore, such scheme must be passed by the local people and they must understand and analyse the consequences of these things and find out where they will lead them to and take care that they do not harm them in any way. We must not be carried away by saying that in America they are doing this and that, in New Zealand they are doing that, etc., Our methods have to be fitted to the conditions prevailing in our own land.
Gandhian Economic Thought – J.C.Kumarappa