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
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

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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