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Drought encouraged distress migration in Odisha

 

Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara
Photo by: Tarsh and Tariq Thekaekara

Rescued migrant Labourer Families of Nuapada

Photo: Ajit Panda

Bhubaneswar |

Last updated 06 Mar 2016 17:50 +0530

  Odisha, Drought, Farmer, Migration

Roughly, about 30000 people from the farming communities of Odisha's Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts have migrated under distress conditions because of the drought of 2015-16 and non-availability of alternate job opportunities.

 

As the Kharif crop failed due to lack of rain and the consequent drought situation, at least five families of Nuapada’s Barpadar village opted to migrate to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to work in a Brick Kiln. They left their village in the month of November last year, i.e., 2015.

They have been rescued recently by the Nuapada district administration from a brick kiln in Redigudam village in Vijayawada district of Andhra Pradesh.

This incident negates all claims made by the government and speaks about its failure in dealing with the drought situation and in implementing programmes under MNREGA in the affected districts to provide alternate employment opportunities to members of the distressed farmers and farm labourers.

The Nuapada district administration officially admits that thousands of people under distress condition have migrated during October-November, in 2015, due to crop loss caused by erratic monsoon.

As per reports, at least 14 migrant workers have lost their lives in last 3 months in their work places primarily due to three reasons – hard work, illness and accidents.

Roughly, about 30000 people from the farming communities of Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts have migrated under distress conditions because of the drought of 2015-16 and non-availability of alternate job opportunities.

The number of migrant labourers is however expected to rise because the farmers in the region live in a precarious condition as the state government has not done enough for immediate relief of distressed farmers.

Quotation starts

While loss of Kharif crop has left the farmer in a helpless situation, the sword of loan burden still hangs over the head. Adding to the plight is the non-conducive climate for the Ravi crop.

Quotation ends

While loss of Kharif (rain-fed) crop has left the farmer in a helpless situation, the sword of loan burden still hangs over the head. Adding to the plight is the non-conducive climate for the Ravi (summer) crop, which may also fail as the winter rain too has not been adequate and is predicted to be abnormally delayed.

If the Ravi crop fails, which seems obvious as on today, there would be more migration and, may be, more cases of farmer suicide in Odisha.

Author is a Nuapada based journalist and social activist.

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