Marath­wada drought-af­fected mi­grate to city for liveli­hood

CRUEL WEATHER Res­i­dents of Marath­wada take up daily-wage work, but want to re­turn at the ear­li­est

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Tas­neem Kausar ht­for­nav­i­mum­bai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

As drought spreads its fangs on the state, the farm­ers are forced to en­dure its fierce­ness.

In re­gions such as Marath­wada and Vi­darbha mil­lions are bereft of liveli­hood. Re­sult: Mi­gra­tion in bulk to the ur­ban ar­eas.

A large num­ber of droughtaf­fected have ar­rived in Navi Mum­bai and most of them have ei­ther taken shel­ter in their rel­a­tives’ place or have taken refuge at the rail­way sta­tions, bus de­pots and other such pub­lic places. For daily sur­vival they have also taken up odd jobs at con­struc­tion sites, restau­rants, ho­tels and pub­lic venues.

Res­i­dents of over 10 vil­lages from Beed dis­trict have al­ready come to the city. So­cial work­ers say around 5,000 droughtaf­fected peo­ple have ar­rived in the city so far.

Ac­cord­ing to some of the tillers, lack of rain and water has hit farm­ing big-time. Some of them have taken hefty loans for till­ing but the cruel weather has turned their farm­land into waste­land.

Some of the vil­lagers said they travel 5 to 10km ev­ery day to find potable water. Hence, they had no choice but to mi­grate to “greener” pas­tures.

Ma­hesh Darekar, an im­mi­grant from Ashti taluka in Beed, said, “The drought has de­stroyed us. There is lit­tle to eat in our vil­lage. The ed­u­ca­tion of our chil­dren had to be dis­con­tin­ued. The fields are bar­ren, the wells and rivers are dry. There is no drink­ing water. We had no op­tion but to leave our vil­lage and come to the city. If we man­age to get food twice a day we would con­sider it to be more than enough. We spend the nights with our fam­i­lies wher­ever we find a place. Dur­ing the day, we take up what­ever work that we get.”

For work, the vil­lagers have spread out to Vashi, Nerul, Kharghar, Kalam­boli, Kamothe and Pan­vel. How­ever, it’s not only men who are slog­ging in this heat and dust. The women, too, are work­ing in tan­dem with the men for some ex­tra bucks.

Namdeo Surya­van­shi from Jalna dis­trict has been in Nerul for the past cou­ple of months.

“There was no work in my vil­lage. My wife and three chil­dren have come with me. I have taken a small room on rent here and make my liv­ing by sell­ing sug­ar­cane juice. My wife helps me too. I earn around Rs 300 daily. It helps me feed my fam­ily. The mo­ment things im­prove in my vil­lage, we will go back. This place seems like a for­eign land. But who are we to choose the place of stay?” he asked.

I have taken a small room on rent here and make my liv­ing by sell­ing sug­ar­cane juice. My wife helps me too. I earn around Rs 300 daily. It helps me feed my fam­ily. NAMDEO SURYA­VAN­SHI, Jalna dis­trict

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