As Drought Leaves Nagapattinam Barren, Men Leave Villages For Work

10 Shares
EMAIL
PRINT
COMMENTS
As Drought Leaves Nagapattinam Barren, Men Leave Villages For Work

Click to Play

As Tamil Nadu faces the worst drought in 140 years, there's a rise in tragic stories.

Chennai:  Driving down to Nagapattinam, one of the worst drought-hit districts in Tamil Nadu, miles of barren land is all we can see.

As the state faces the worst drought in 140 years, there's a rise in tragic stories - farmer suicides, widowhood, school and college dropouts.

29-year-old Kavitha's husband - Veeramani - died of heart-attack in December last year, after seeing his first paddy crop planted on leased land wither away because of drought. On top of it, Veeramani had a loan of Rs 50,000.

All by herself, Kavitha has to look after her two daughters. Today, her hut has no power supply. The government has given her Rs 3 lakh as compensation. "If the government can give me a job, I can save my children. I'm a Class XII pass-out and have applied for the job of a noon-meal worker," she says.

Mallika's husband, Palanisamy, committed suicide by hanging himself in January this year. He had a loan of Rs 3 lakh. The government has not yet paid her any compensation.

Successive crop loss and ensuing debts from private money lenders have pushed many farmers on the brink. At least 17 farmers have committed suicide in the last three months. More than 100 people died of shock over crop loss.

There's no work on the dry, parched and cracked fields since January.

In Muppathi Kottagam village, there's hardly anyone left. Most men, including farmers, have migrated to cities, working as construction labourers and security guards.

R Jeeva's son dropped out of studies to work at a hosiery unit in Tiruppur city. "They institute says they will not give his certificate unless we lay 9000 fees," she says.

L Sabitha, a farm labourer, is struggling to get by. "Even getting food has become so difficult. They give us just 20 kg rice. We are unable to feed the children with it," she says.

The state government has promised to give Rs 5000 for every acre of lost crop and has allotted Rs 700 crore to fight drought. It also sought Rs 40,000 crore relief package from the centre, but received just Rs 1600 crore.

Comments
"During rainy season rain water would be harvested, ground water rejuvenated. We are working to enable farmers get water," said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami while launching a massive Rs 100 crore project on de-silting lakes.

Farmers' battle for justice has now shifted to Delhi where they are protesting with skulls of dead farmers, demanding loan waiver, drought relief package and establishment of Cauvery Management Board, which they believe will solve the crisis.

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................