The Meteorological Department may have finally admitted that the country is facing a rainfall deficit of 51 percent this year, but for farmers in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan the prolonged dry spell is already forcing them to abandon their homes and cattle to migrate to the city in the hope of better prospects.
For Jiva Kanwar, a resident of Phulasar village in Jaisalmer, this year’s dry spell is a terrible irony. Last year her house was washed away due to the floods and this year village’s underground tanks have dried up and there’s already a shortage of fodder for her cattle.
“I have nothing left to feed my cows and daughter. If it doesn’t rain I will have to let go of them. There is no man in the house to migrate for work and earn and I’m too old,” Kanwar told CNN-IBN.
Narendra Singh, a farmer, said he may be forced to migrate to Gujarat or Haryana.
“There’s been no sowing at all. The cattle will have to go now and then I’ll also have to migrate for work. Since there’s a debt to repay I don’t have a choice. The village will be left with hardly any men if help from the government doesn’t come soon,” says Narendra Singh, a resident of Phulasar village in Jaisalmer.
According to the Meteorological Department, the second half of the monsoon is also likely to be bad which doesn’t offer much hope for farmers like Singh.
Jaisalmer and Barmer, have been badly hit with a 33 percent rainfall deficit this year and the district administration says they are preparing for the worst.
“Against the average rainfall of 165 mm it has only rained 15 mm. So far the situation is extremely worrying and there are strong chances of a drought. At this rate serious water and fodder scarcity will follow,” says Additional District Collector Jaisalmer Ramesh Chandra Jainth.