The drought in Maharashtra cannot be compared to anything that has been taking place in the last 20 years. In fact, some surveyors believe that the rainfall has been the least in the 20th century.
Even though the BJP-government spent Rs 1,400 crore in 2015 to make Maharashtra dushkal-mukt, or drought-free, the rain Gods are not co-operating. Hence, the dried-up well and pipelines.
In January, state relief and rehabilitation secretary K H Govinda Raj had said,"It is a very difficult situation. Farmers in the state are facing severe agrarian distress. The state government has released relief worth Rs 2,000 crore so far, " he added.
The crops that have taken a major hit include cotton and soyabean, which see a dramatic drop in the yoeld. "The total cotton production in Maharashtra could drop by 1.5 crore quintals this year. The soyabean yield was 4 quintals per acre. This year it could be just half of that," said Vijay Jawandia.
Agriculture yield hampered
The condition is the same since last year. The Moong production, for instance, dropped by 61% and soyabean yield by 59% last year, as compared to last year. The Kharif crop too saw a major hit, ensuing the 9 month drought in Maharashtra.
In the very same year, the tur yield is set to fall by 42% and udad dal by 48% as compared to 2014. Cereals like maize have been impacted as well and the yield has fallen to 52%. Kharif Jowar and bajra could see a fall of over 30% while ragi is set to see a decline of 20%.
Cotton and kharif oilseeds will also see a significant decline.
The Latur story
Latur is the chief producer of soyabean, mango and grapes. It is also known as the "Sugar belt of India". Latur is also the site of Food Park that is planned on a 50 acre plot at Harangul. This location is best suited for processing grapes, turmeric, mangoes, pomegranate, citrus fruits and custard apple.
While agricultural loss can still be accounted for, there is no account for the parched throats that have gone without water for almost 50 days now and has a greater reach and extend.
Latur is not the only sufferer
While our full concentration is on Latur, other cities in the belt too need help. Water Sangli (district), the taluks of Drhat (sic) and Athpadi, meanwhile, passed resolutions on Monday afternoon demanding a share of water which was passing through their territory through the 10 water tankers.
Their agitation reportedly delayed the progress of the train from Miraj, which had ten tankers. Which means, Sangli, the source of water for Latur, too has water scarce regions.
Water is welcome, but doesn't other cities deserve the luxury too?