Uttarakhand farmers’ livelihood shrouded in uncertainty
The mountains of Uttarakhand are beautiful and sombering. Driving and walking through them, one sees abandoned terrace farms, overgrown with grasses and young trees, every now and then.
I spoke to dozens of women, youngsters and men, asking them if what I was seeing made sense to them. Each one, without exception, spoke of the animals that have raided their farms. Wild boar, monkeys and deer, for most part.
These animals raid the farms so entirely and routinely that it’s not even possible to remain a subsistence farmer anymore.
As people abandon agriculture in Uttarakhand, they flee to towns, even Delhi, looking for the jobs that are so hard to come by. What can be done?
The villagers all mentioned how they didn’t feel good, or at least, comfortable, about shooting the animals.
Yet, each one mentioned that the government could give them electric fences which they can ill-afford. Whatever the solution, it’s vital that it be implemented speedily.(The writer is the founder and director Chintan Environmental Research
and Action Group)