In drought-hit Marathwada, villagers depend on tankers for water, farmers cut down fruit trees -Meena Menon
Ahead of polls, despite the dire situation, there is neither work under employment guarantee scheme nor any cattle camps, fodder depots for livestock.
The irony is unmistakable. In the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, which is in the grip of arguably the worst drought since 1972, what stands out is hectic road construction. En route from Jalna to Ambad, a massive machine lays out a spanking new concrete road. Meanwhile, across the road, people fill pots of water from leaks in a pipeline from the Jayakwadi dam to Jalna, in defiance.
Water sources are running dry for the most part and tankers criss-cross the region, queueing to fill water from the few remaining dams that have water. The browning of Marathwada has been underway since many years and the situation can only get worse this summer. The situation is compounded by the proliferation of sugarcane cultivation in the region, which has also suffered due to poor rains in 2018.
Over the years the tanker lobby, the borewell industry and now the many small reverse osmosis filter plants, which supply drinking water in towns continue to make a killing. For the people, however, there is no sign of “achche din” or “good days”, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s 2014 poll slogan. In Jalna district, for example, there were no cattle camps or employment guarantee scheme work in progress.
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