Shutterbug captures State's drought-stricken districts

Shutterbug captures State's drought-stricken districts

A Bengaluru-based photographer has captured the severe drought conditions in the arid regions of Kolar, Chikkaballapur, parts of Tumakuru and Bengaluru districts, where all the water bodies including ground water sources have dried up.

The photographs depict the extreme conditions in the bayaluseeme (plains) region where agriculture has been affected badly.

Moreover, the people in this region do not have regular supply of drinking water.
B N Mohan Kumar, the freelance photojournalist whose photographs are on display at the Chitrakala Parishat from Wednesday, said, “The photographs were taken just 15 days ago when summer was just setting in. It is impossible to even predict the plight of the people in these regions in the next three months.”

The photographs show the plight of River Chitravathi in Chikkaballapur district, which was once under dispute between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and is now just a pile of sand. The Gudibande Lake, one of the largest lakes measuring over 120 hectares could previously store water upto 25 feet, but it now resembles a desert.

Kumar has also captured grape growers feeding water to their drip irrigation pipelines through water tankers as their borewells have failed. Water is stored in the field by digging pits and using plastic sheets to prevent seepage.

Crops withering and cattle suffering from shortage of fodder are common in these regions. Many of the farmers have resorted to selling their cattle to slaughterhouses.
Fluoride in water is the biggest problem for those who depend on groundwater. In these regions, fluorosis has not only affected the older generation, but also the infants as they already suffer from deformities.

The teeth of schoolchildren have turned yellow, showing how fluoride has caused deficiency of calcium.  

Gathering momentum

The exhibition organised by Shashwatha Neeravari Horata Samithi has been gathering momentum to showcase the sad state of affairs of the these districts.

Mallur Harish, the secretary of the Samithi, said that crores of rupees were allocated, but not a single paise was reaching these districts.

“Unlike the Western Ghats, these are the rain-deprived areas and need special attention by the government. These districts have over 3,800 tanks but only a handful of borewells are still working.

Though water can be brought from Nethravathi river, many of them are misleading the government saying that the river will be diverted,” Harish added.

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