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Finally, succor for villagers

india Updated: Jan 10, 2007 15:17 IST

The Tikamgarh district administration has recently provided relief to drought-affected villages. On December 7, 2006, the Hindustan Times had carried a report on the plight of villagers who were being forced to live on ‘latar’ grass.

Tikamgarh Collector Manish Shrivastava had directed a team led by zila panchayat CEO Ajay Singh Ganware to visit Tanga and Bamori Abda villages in the district. This was also reported by HT.

During their visit, the officials had taken stock of the first phase of the work done under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). According to Tanga sarpanch’s son, Babloo Rai, the officials verbally assured them that the projects sanctioned for the area would be started soon. The officials had promised Rs 40 lakh for Tanga and Bamori Abda villages. However, the amount is yet to be released.

The Collector recently sanctioned four quintals of wheat for eight women in Tanga village whose families had been surviving on rotis made from ‘latar’ grass. The names of Bhagwati Barar, Yamuna Barar, Rani Barar, Sheila Barar, Ram Rati Charar and Sunita Barar among others, who were distributed wheat, had been mentioned in the HT report.

When contacted, Collector Manish Shrivastava confirmed that wheat had been distributed in Tanga village. “This district has been reeling under drought for the past 10 years,” he said. When asked why the district had not been declared drought-affected earlier, he said, “There are clear guidelines based on Anawari/ crop-cutting experiments to assess production of crops. Only when the cultivators are not able to get even 37 paisa for their crops, we declare the area drought-affected,” he elaborated. 

He further claimed that an inventory has been made of the water resources for 961 of 1,003 villages in Tikamgarh, so that water could be acquired in emergency. Besides, the gram panchayats have been permitted to buy tankers. Asked how the administration would ensure that the poorest of the poor got water, Shrivastava said that the gram panchayats had a mechanism of social audit that would make sure that water reached all.

The local civil society organisation ‘Parhit’, which is working in Jatara block, claims that the migration is 44.5 per cent
against the government claim of 22 per cent.