24 September, 2020

How Green These Barrens

A magical oasis right in the middle of the suicide belt of Maharashtra, Hivre Bazaar village shows what united thought and action can achieve

Apoorva Salkade
How Green These Barrens

Trigger Why we are doing this story

  • In Maharashtra, 79 farmers have killed themselves so far this year, with three indebted farmers committing suicide on Aug 8.


Between the dense outcrop of crooked trees and wild grass, we spot two cheetal deer from the car. In a flash, they are gone, the white underside of their tails flashing as they speed away. Only, we aren’t in a reserve forest or national park. Hivre Bazaar is like a miracle smack in the middle of the driest, most drought-prone and arid areas of Maharashtra. It gets an annual rainfall of 300-400 mm; in comparison, nearby Vidarbha, the ‘suicide belt’ of Maharashtra, gets almost double. Across the village borders, marked by big boulders, the terrain turns barren again, with a few straggly trees fighting for survival. Smooth, paved roads criss-cross the village. There is not one garbage heap in sight, not one plastic bag, no open latrines....



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