Drought-hit farmers of Jharkhand village migrate in search of jobs

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Nakta village (Jharkhand), Aug 25 (ANI): Farmers in drought-hit Nakta village of Jharkhand are forced to migrate to cities in search of jobs as they are left with damaged crops due to prolonged drought.

"Our paddy and corn crop have been damaged due to drought. Some of us could not sow paddy in time. Our children are dying of hunger. We don't have any work here. In such a situation won't we look for a job elsewhere? That's why we are migrating," said Maharaj Singh, a villager.

The villagers, mainly women, children and elderly, who are left behind in the village, are surviving on green leaves, wild edible roots and nuts.

Some of the villagers admitted that authorities did come to the village to distribute free grains to those living below the poverty line (BPL), but they complained that most of them did not get grains, as they did not have the BPL cards.

"We don't have money. We eat once in three days. We are eating wild greens, edible roots and nuts," said Puniya Devi, a villager.

The village houses 200 people and only 20 people have the BPL cards. Most of the villagers sell woods for their living, apart from farming. But the villagers say selling wood is not enough and they need employment to earn regular income.

In the absence of any work at the village level, the farmers are going to towns and cities to look for odd jobs.

However, government officials say that the villagers are being provided with 100 days work under the NAREGA scheme (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).

Sudhanshu Bhushan Ram, Deputy Development Commissioner, Latehar, said the villagers are being provided with all the necessary support and they are migrating out of their choice.

"We are giving employment and issuing job cards to them. They are being paid weekly and in spite of that if people migrate elsewhere on their will how could you stop that?" said Ram. By Girija Shankar Ojha (ANI)

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