28 January, 2021

No Silver Lining

It's the most widespread drought in decades but more worrying is the fact that its fallout will last for a long time to come

Tribhuvan Tiwari
No Silver Lining
In Sahu Nangla village in western Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district, they do not have the Met office to curse. In this sleepy village, no one sleeps. For a month now they have been waiting for the rain. But the skies have not opened up. The paddy sown in the fields has wilted and in all likelihood will soon perish. There is an air of despondency among the villagers. Forty-year-old Mukim-ul-Rahman tells you how he walks to his two-acre patch every morning only to return home dejected. "I have invested Rs 25,000 raised through loans on the crop. I have lost all of it. I wonder how I and my family will survive."

Rahman's plight is shared by thousands of marginal farmers all over western Uttar Pradesh who have been affected by one of the worst droughts in recent years. Unlike his brethren in the conventionally drought-prone states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh who have faced severe dry spells in the past, the farming community in rain-surplus Uttar Pradesh is ill-prepared to handle a prolonged dry spell. "Drought never occurs in this part of the state. We do not even...


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