OVER 15 districts of Maharashtra have recorded drought. More than 6000 villages or towns are facing the biggest crisis after 1972. Dams have exhausted water and over 10 lakh people (farmers and all those who run allied trades/businesses that depend on agriculture) have helplessly left their homes with families. Some of them are in nearby towns and cities searching for some work. Some along with cattle have taken shelters in fodder camps being run by VHP, other social organisations and government.
While meeting farmers and others in such villages like Tembhurni in Jalana district, Jafarabad tehsil and village Parundi in Sambhaji Nagar (Aurangabad) district, VHP working president Dr Pravin Togadia said farmers feed the nation. But today they, Gou Mata and other cattle as well as mother earth are in trouble, agony and pain because of the drought. It is every citizen’s duty to be with them in their hour of need even if we can contribute just the squirrel’s share. VHP has specific supports lined up for the drought affected.
Day-to-day living is a serious concern now for the farmers and youth in their families. VHP has made arrangements for 5000 such people to get jobs in the factories/gardens / other establishments – some in the towns around and some in the cities like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Akola etc. For three months of summer they will work this way. This has been possible due to generous and kind businessmen and industrialists. When monsoon starts, they will like to go back to their villages to their farms.
He said the VHP has specific plans lined up to give work for 5000 more. This makes the number 10,000. All 10,000 people working at many places will be given staying arrangement and food free of cost. Their families will also be with them as old parents, little kids and others have to be sheltered and cared for. This stay and food arrangement has been done by VHP in coordination with many temples, ashrams, hostels, schools, etc.
He said in June when these 10,000 will go back to their villages at the start of monsoon, VHP would also care for getting them proper seeds, natural fertilizers etc. There are many yet staying in villages but with severe shortage of water. VHP has purchased 2 second hand tankers that travel many little badis and villages supplying water to the drought affected. More arrangement for water is being made.
Apart from this, VHP is already running two cattle camps in Shevgav (Ahmednagar district) and Akalvadi (Sangli District). Eleven more camps are about to start shortly. Fodder, water and medical care for the cattle are being done by VHP, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vaahini workers with the kind support from the citizens and corporate who respect their social responsibility..
Since some farmers have committed suicide due to drought and ensuing sufferings. Dr Togadia will personally go to the home of one such farmer to know what exactly an organisation can do to prevent such tragedies. Many children used to go to schools in these villages. Due to the displacement of their families, they had to drop out of their schools at exam time. VHP has been urging the government to ensure that these children do not lose one full year and their exam can be arranged later when they go back to their respective villages and settle down after monsoon. This can be in August as they will go back in June during monsoon and will need at least 2 months to resettle,” he said.
Dr Togadia appealed to the people to help the drought victims, rising above political differences. “The drought affected people are not beggars; they feed all of us through their hard work! Agriculture decline, water shortage, crop damages, soil deterioration and forced loans have already affected them due to misplaced priorities and wrong policies of the governments. But this is not the time to start a blame game; it’s time to raise a helping hand together. I appeal to all to keep one day’s income / salary aside and donate for the drought affected people.