Drought in Gujarat has started taking its toll as 10 farmers in Saurashtra region, which is the worst hit areas in the state, have committed suicide in last one month because their crops failed in the absence of rain.
Saurashtra consists of seven districts which have received only 25% of the season’s average rainfall this year. Those who committed suicides are: Koli Devchand, Sgar Mohanbhai, Hamirbhai Kavad and Babu Paghdal from Amreli district, Kishor Pethani, Bhikhabhai Sakaria, Valabhai Modh and Jaipalsinh Jadeja from Rajkot district, Nikhil Ramolia from Jamnagar district and Keshav Vadher from Junagadh district.
“Farmers in Saurashtra have two problems: their crops have largely failed and secondly there are terribly short of fodder to support their animals. Despite our constant demand, this shameless government is not doing anything to ease the situation which has gone from bad to worse,” Gujarat leader of opposition and MLA from Bhavnagar Shaktisinh Gohil said, lashing out at the Modi administration.
Even a BJP MP from Saurashtra is blaming the state government authorities of neglecting the farmers. “One month back, it became clear that drought was imminent in the region but unfortunately the government seems least bothered about the issue,” he said, adding that drinking water problem is already worsening in interior and far flung rural areas in the region.
In Saurashtra, there are total 135 reservoirs having capacity to store 2512 million cubic metre (MCM) of water. However, due to scanty rainfall in the season, these reservoirs are filled with only 7% of their capacity, which means water crisis is already looming in the region.
“Among all the regions in the state, Saurashtra, largest geographical region in the state, is the worst hit because the crops have already failed; fodder is not available and drinking water. Unless and until some drastic and immediate steps are not taken, there will be huge migration of people from rural to urban centres,” a senior secretary in the state government said.