Drought, What Can We Do

Report after report on TV and news papers describe in detail how  state after state is under influence of draught. Farmers have lost crop, there is no food to eat and no water to drink for either man or animal. Farmers are moving to cities in search of job. 

Drought has hit village after village in different districts of many states. At least 8 – 9 states are under the grip of drought. In Latur district of Marathwada region, water shortage is so acute that government is running water train. A few other less connected villages and towns are not that fortunate. Nana Patekar, noted film actor, described on a TV program tales of human misery and how it is a crime to keep quiet at this time of human distress.

Nana has shown the way be starting an NGO – NAAM foundation. This NGO is helping struggling farmers with money and with hope. Several other film personalities like Akshay Kumar, Amir Khan and Riteish Deshmukh have contributed money for distressed farmers of Marathwada region of Maharashtra. 

Beyond this response to overcome acute distress, I think effort must be made so that farmers do not face such kind of calamity in future.  Long term strategy must be designed where water harvesting, changing crop pattern, induction of drip irrigation technology must be introduced. There is a village Hiware Bazar, in the water scarce Ahmadnagar district in Marathwada region, that is water surplus. According to report, this village did not have to ask for a water tanker in last 20 years. Villagers do not have to dig more than 40 feet to access underground water. Village does not encourage water intensive sugarcane and banana plantation.  No farm animal is dying in the village due to lack of fodder and water.  I think such a village should be role model for Maharashtra and the nation. 

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