Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

THE MARATH­WADA re­gion of Ma­ha­rash­tra is fac­ing a drought-like sit­u­a­tion for the fourth con­sec­u­tive year. All the eight dis­tricts in the re­gion—Au­rangabad, Beed, Hin­goli, Jalna, Latur, Nanded, Os­man­abad and Parb­hani—have re­ceived just 259 mm of rain­fall against the yearly av­er­age of 541 mm. Res­i­dents of the area are al­ready com­par­ing this year's drought with that of 1972, in­di­cat­ing it is the worst year in four decades. The sit­u­a­tion is so bad that the In­dian Rail­ways is be­ing used to ferry wa­ter from other ar­eas of Ma­ha­rash­tra to wa­ter­d­eficit Marath­wada. Around 575 farmer sui­cides were recorded in the re­gion by the end of Au­gust.

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