“He is the only one in our family who brings food and money & we are all dependant on him. We are very poor. We don’t have gas or motorbikes. The yield has been very bad this year and we can’t even sell it”, said Sanna Somanna’s wife who is a farmer.
Maski is in the Raichur district of Karnataka. The area has been suffering from water scarcity for the past 4-5 years. Before the rain scarcity, the farmers used to cultivate two yields in a year. They used to grow one set of crops in the first 6 months and another set of crops in the last six months of the year.
Since there is an acute water scarcity from the past 4-5 years, the farmers are only able to grow one yield in a year.
Riyana Atthar, Farm Field inspector said, “There are a lot of issues with the water. Farmers do not get enough water to cultivate in their lands. Borewells are also running out of water. Earlier there were 2 yields but now only 1 yield is grown. We are trying our best to supply the water through Maski Nala Project and various other water projects.”
With time the soil has become infertile with water scarcity. The only crops the farmers are able to grow are – Sajji, Ragi and Jowar. The soil has become unfit for crop rotation.
Reddy Rayanagowda, TMC CEO, Municipality Office said “The land is divided into two. One side is the dam water supply other is rain-dependant. Everybody is suffering due to the lack of rain and so are the farmers. We are trying to dig more water and with tankers. The municipality is planning to introduce new methods where water is dug from too low under the earth i.e. about 400 feet low.”
Maski Nala Project was launched to deal with water shortage but it does not come of much use as intended. The government provides the farmers to work under the project in the summertime when irrigation is minimal due to water scarcity. Farmers’ complained about the bore wells dug under the project, also lacks water. Since the last 4-5 years, there have been only 20 bore wells in Maski, many of which have already died.
Sanna Somanna, a farmer said, “For 3 months the water comes from the Dam. In acute summer when the dam has less water the crops suffer a lot. Every farm doesn’t get water. Farms next to the canal get a bit of water and mostly rice is grown there. Most of the bore wells have no water at all.”
The whole family is dependant on one person. The farmers are unable to produce much money since they are unable to cultivate anything in their fields. They are dying of starvation and malnutrition. They complained that the government is also not providing them much subsidy or help for it. Due to the adverse condition, the farmers are running to the cities for a job to regain their normal livelihood
Raja Sahab, a farmer said, “1 acre causes us a loss of about 30 to 40 thousand rupees. We can only save about 4000 a month in which we have to survive for our daily lives. We have to go to Bangalore when rain is low to earn something for a living.”
The district is known as the biggest cultivator of rice crops, faced a huge business loss. In many areas of Maski people are able to cultivate barely anything due to infertility of the soil now.
Maski is one of the 1370 villages in 27 districts across the state where water is supplied through tankers as per the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring system.
Mr. Ambrish, Zila Parishad at panchayat, heading 52 villages said, “A letter has been drafted to the higher state officials but we are yet to receive the response from them.”