Marath­wada Vil­lagers forced to Mi­grate

Fam­i­lies are forced to leave their aged par­ents & chil­dren to find jobs in cities

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Kr­ishna.Kumar @times­group.com

Mum­bai: It’s not just about parched land and dry taps, but there’s a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis that’s un­fold­ing in the vil­lages of Marath­wada, which is reel­ing un­der four suc­ces­sive droughts and bu­reau­cratic ap­a­thy. Peo­ple are forced to mi­grate to cities in search of jobs, but what makes the sit­u­a­tion poignant is that they are some­times forced to leave their old par­ents and chil­dren to fend for them­selves.

Barely a few kilo­me­tres away from Latur in Ma­surdi vil­lage, for in­stance, Be­labai Bhalekar (70) sits out­side her home. Her son Pand­hari (50) has taken his wife and gone to Pune, look­ing for a job, leav­ing her mother be­hind in a vil­lage of 1,000odd peo­ple.

Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, this isn’t a mat­ter that would at­tract much talk. But th­ese are not nor­mal times, and Bhalekar is half blind, can barely walk, and has to run to fetch some wa­ter when the wa­ter tanker ar­rives in her vil­lage. When you ask her why her son didn’t take her to Pune as well, she sa- In al­most ev­ery parched vil­lage in Marath­wada, one would hear sim­i­lar sto­ries, one more hope­less than the other id, “He is work­ing as a porter, liv­ing in a rented house… I will be a li­a­bil­ity for him, so I have de­cided to stay here.”

In al­most ev­ery parched vil­lage in Marath­wada, where peo­ple have mi­grated to cities to make ends meet, you would hear sim­i­lar sto­ries, one more hope­less than the other. Take Sarub­hai Disle’s (85) case in Disle­wadi in Beed district -- her son Ba­pu­ramji Disle left with his wife to look for a job in the city. Disle now has to de­pend on Sharda, her 12-year-old grand daugh­ter who has been left be­hind to take care of her.

Sharda goes to school, comes home to cook for her grand­mother, and then trudges more than a kilo­me­tre to fetch drink­ing wa­ter.

While Disle has her grand­daugh­ter to take care of her, in the case of her rel­a­tive Asoba Disle (60), she has to take care of her three-year-old grand­daugh­ter Didi, as her son Shiv­nath works as a driver in Karad. Shirur res­i­dent Ramesh­war Kh­sir­sagar said that in many vil­lages young girls, as young as 13, have been left alone by their par­ents who have gone to cities to look for work.

"The girls live all alone tak­ing care not just of them­selves, but also their sib­lings. It might seem heart­less, but par­ents have no op­tion but to travel to cities to find work to feed their fam­i­lies," said Kshirsagar.

SUCH A LONG WAIT FILE PHOTO

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