13 May, 2021

At The Mercy Of Rain God, Chitradurga On Lifeline Again

Karnataka's peculiar weather pattern has left Chitradurga thirsty for water. Years of failed rains have taken their toll on this district declared drought-hit by the state's disaster monitoring centre

Withered by the sun, these truncated arecanut trees are all that remains of a farm, says farmer leader Siddaveerappa
Photograph by Ajay Sukumaran
At The Mercy Of Rain God, Chitradurga On Lifeline Again

It rained last Tuesday in Challakere. But that only helped to settle the dust and the loose, crumbly earth. Ask anyone in these arid parts and you’ll get the same res­ponse. “We need a few more showers. The tanks have to fill up.” They haven’t, for a long while.

That brief overnight spell brought hope; a cloudy and a rain-laden, breezy start to the day. By 10 am, however, the sky was clear. Past Challakere, as the sun beat down, villagers drove their cattle into a goshala, as they have been doing every day for the past couple of months. The district administration has set up six goshalas in Chitradurga district—one of the driest regions of Karnataka—where cattle get free fodder. For cattle herders close by, it’s a day-care centre—they collect their ration of 5 kg of hay per cattle head, water their stock from the borewell and settle down in the shade for the day until sundown, when they head back home. But there are others who have trudged here from miles afar and cannot make the trip every day. These folks stay put at...

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