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In parched, drought-affected Barmer, villagers say relief comes on request

Due to lack of drinking water and fodder, cattle are dying and women have to travel 4 to 5 kilometres to arrange drinking water even as mercury touches 44 degrees Celsius.

jaipur Updated: May 14, 2019 13:48 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times, Barmer
barmer,drought in barmer,barmer district
Barmer district is reeling under the severest drought of the decade this year. (HT Photo )

Though the Barmer district is reeling under drought, villagers say relief activities have not started in all villages. They said officials are waiting for request from people to sanction relief.

Due to lack of drinking water and fodder, cattle are dying and women have to travel 4 to 5 kilometres to arrange drinking water even as mercury touches 44 degrees Celsius.

Officials said they are sanctioning cattle camps and drinking water arrangements in the affected areas on demand.

Hemant Kumar Choudhary, superintendent engineer at the water works department in Barmer, said they are sanctioning water tankers for the parched areas as per demand. “We have sanctioned water tankers at 457 points and more tankers will be sanctioned according to demand,” Choudhary said

Hindu Singh Tamlor, sarpanch of Tamlor village located about 85 km west of Barmer, said their condition is pathetic. “Due to drought condition, there is no water or fodder for the livestock. Cattle are dying in the area every day. Carcasses of cattle can be seen in almost every village.”

He said that despite the pathetic situation, authorities have not started relief activities in many villages. “Relief activities at some villages they are only a lip service.”

The sarpanch said they have no fodder stock due to failure of monsoon.

“Fodder was earlier priced at Rs 600 per quintal, but now it has reached Rs 1700 per quintal. Farming and cattle rearing are the principal avocation of the people in this region but drought has left them in a helpless situation. People are migrating to urban areas for employment,” he said.

Hukam Singh Sodha, a villager, said drinking water is not available.

“Till date there is no government water supply to his area. For drinking water we have to pay Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per water tanker.”

Sodha said after failure of monsoon their crops got damaged and they are not in a position to bear such huge cost. He said that if the government did not take serious note of the situation, people have to migrate from the area.

The government has announced to provide fodder on subsidised rates only to small and marginal framers who are having land up to 12 bighas. Locals alleged that in this part of western Rajasthan an average farmer is holding more than 15 bighas,

This year bordering Barmer district is facing the severest drought of the decade, according to official statements. As many as 2741 of total 2775 villages in the district have been declared drought affected. According to official reports, 100% crop damage have been reported in 2191 villages, 75% in 503 villages and 50% in 47 villages.

This is fifth year in a row that the area has received scanty rainfall and district is facing drought situation.

As many as 1600 villages were drought affected in 2014; 1470 in 2015; 2478 in 2016 and 1900 in 2017. This time 2741 villages have been drought affected, according to official reports.

Though drought assessment report was sent in October last year, the government launched relief activities six months later from April this year.

So far 151 cattle camps have been sanctioned in the bordering district.

First Published: May 14, 2019 13:48 IST