Drought: Farmers become daily wagers due to crop loss

A withering arecanut garden in Chitradurga district.

Most of the houses in this tiny hamlet-Mogalahalli in Molakalmuru taluk, Chitradurga district, have toilets, thanks to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiated by the NDA government. But there is one problem - water. Residents of the village are not using them due to water crisis.

Such is the situation in many villages of  Molakalmuru and Challakere taluks in Chitradurga district.  “When we are struggling to get water to cook food and quench our thirst, we are not keen to use it to clean toilets. Water crisis has prompted people to resort to open defecation,” said Manjula K N, who wakes up early in the morning and rushes towards government school ferrying 10 containers in a push-cart to get water from pipeline.  So, getting adequate water is their everyday ‘karma’.

Komalakshi, resident of the same village, said “we get water only if there is power supply. So, we have asked our children to keep an eye over the pipe to check whether water flows from it or not. Even children are not enjoying their vacation.”

 Groundnut is the major crop in this region. But farmers have suffered crop loss due to drought. “We are still alive despite losing crop due to Anna Bhagya scheme,” said Nagaraj, of the same village.

 Villagers of Janakonda, 14 km from Chitradurga, have to walk for about 3 km everyday to fetch water from a private borewell dug in farm land as water supply through tanker has come to halt due to the non-clearance of pending bills. 

Gowramma, resident of the village said “earlier, water was being supplied through tankers in the village. But now it has been stopped as gram panchayat has not yet made payment to the tanker driver.  Besides, Rs 650 - the price fixed per trip - is low for agency.”

Satish, resident of  the same village, said areca trees are completely dried up due to drought. Annual fair of village deity Kariyamma has been cancelled. Most parts of Chitradurga district including the city are facing water crisis. Some are relying on borewells and the others on tankers. 

Most of the farmers in Uddagatta village, Jagaluru taluk of Davangere district, have turned into daily wage workers as drought has hit the farming sector.

Ravi Kumar, who owns around 12 acres of land, works as driver with a private packaged drinking water plant near Uddagatta village. “Onion, groudnut, maize were being grown on 12 acres of land. Following drought, land has not been cultivated and borewells have dried up.”

He said water is being supplied through tankers in the village. But it can’t be used to drink. So, we are forced to buy drinking water by paying Rs 6 per container from the plant.

Speaking to DH, Chitradurga Deputy Commissioner R Vinoth Priya said water is being supplied to 145 villages through tankers in the district which are it hard by drought. Our aim is to supply drinking water to people and not for irrigation.

The payment has not been done to some tanker agencies due to the non-submission of documents.

Even Shivamogga, gateway of Malnad, is not free from water crisis. Villages in Agumbe region of Thirthahlli taluk, which was once known as Cherrapunjee of South India, are facing crisis. Water is being supplied through tankers here.

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