Gadag: Drought adds farmers to ‘migration’ team

A shepherd leads a flock of sheep as they set out in search of water on the bed of the Hirehalla reservoir near Kinnal in Koppal taluk. DH Photo/Bharath Kandakur

“A daily bus from Gadag to Panaji moves not on the main road, but via interior villages like Kundralli, Adralli and Badni and their nearby taandas, before reaching Laxmeshwar. People here go to Goa for working there, and their number has increased in last four months.”

This is how Basavaraj Mundinamani, a resident of Kundralli near Laxmeshwar in Gadag district, explains how migration of villagers in search of work is taking place during the drought situation. He also had gone to Mangaluru and worked there for over two months. He is back at the village now, to keep his fields ready for sowing, with a hope that it would rain soon.

Though a lot people in this area regularly go to Goa, Mangaluru, Kerala and other places to earn their livelihood, irrespective of drought or flood, recurrent drought has forced several farmers also to work at distant places this summer.

“With crop loss, we need to search for work. I worked here in a tank de-silting project under MGNREGS. We are not sure of timely payment of wages, and regular work. I earned around Rs 600 per day when I worked as a construction worker in Mangaluru,” Mundinamani noted. Like him, several farmers have left their houses for working in other places, and they are returning now. According to GP member Virupakshappa, youth and others who want more salary always go. But a few farmers also go in summer in recent years.

A similar situation can be seen at Nagarasakoppa and other villages near Gajendragad. But, this problem cannot be seen in Haveri and Dharwad districts, except some villagers coming to Hubballi to work and returning by evening.

People with push-carts to carry water pots is a common scene even in villages covered under multi-village drinking water projects.

Compared to Dharwad and Haveri districts, drought is severe in parts of Gadag district. But, drought in recent years has made drinking water shortage, crop loss and fodder shortage major problems.

“Tankers are not pressed to service, as tank, bore-well and pipeline water is arranged. Some 22 fodder banks are opened, and MGNREGS works are also on in the district. Migration of farmers is very less,” says Gadag DC M G Hiremath.

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