24 November, 2020

Wither Report

They aren't even calling it drought. But a large belt of India is drying to dust.

Atul Loke
Wither Report
Drought is a 'boring' ritual for India, visiting thousands of villages, affecting the lives of many millions. In this election year too, the ritual is in full tilt. Village after village in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan is now witness to an exodus, as entire families move out to nearby towns, cities in search of water and employment. And it's not as if the cities have been spared either. In fact, groundwater levels in most parts of the country are at an alarming low.

Cold statistics bear this out. Take Maharashtra. Four thousand tankers crisscross 3,983 villages and 7,950 hamlets everyday merely to provide drinking water. In the last drought season, there were 3,661 tankers on the roads. In 197 of the 348 talukas, groundwater has depleted to disturbing levels. As many as one million people are registered Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) workers with 12,734 works under execution. There are 700 cattle camps and as many fodder depots functioning. No government department keeps records of migrations but officials say entire villages have been...


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