Karnataka

These hamlets in Chincholi are full of the very old and the very young

Pathu Chinna Rathod and his wife, who have been abandoned by their children, sitting outside their small house in Sasaragaon hamlet in Chincholi taluk of Kalaburagi district.

Pathu Chinna Rathod and his wife, who have been abandoned by their children, sitting outside their small house in Sasaragaon hamlet in Chincholi taluk of Kalaburagi district.   | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

Sixty-year-old Dinabai at Sasaragaon tanda (a Lambani hamlet) and her husband Lakku have eight grandchildren under their care. All six of their sons, along with their wives and a few older children, are away in Mumbai, working in construction sites.

Houses in this tanda, in Chincholi taluk of Kalaburagi, are either locked up or have just older people left with young children to care for. The hamlet has about 80 houses and nearly half of them are locked as many people have migrated to Mumbai for work.

“I met with an accident and my leg is injured. So I did not go to Mumbai with my sons. I am staying at home with my sick wife, looking after our grandchildren,” says Govinda, a resident of Rammanaguda tanda in the same taluk, which wore a deserted look when The Hindu visited on Thursday.

Seasonal migration is a permanent phenomenon in the rural areas, particularly in the Lambani hamlets, of this arid region that is marked by scanty rainfall, intense heat, and absence of livelihood options.

After sowing red gram in June-July and doing weeding and other work for a month, farmers and farm labourers leave for Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Bengaluru, were they are absorbed into the construction industry as daily-wage labourers. After working for four or five months, they return home in December or January for the red gram harvest. Once the harvest is over, they again leave for cities and work till the onset of monsoon.

Life is never easy for those left behind, particularly because fetching drinking water itself is a big challenge. With parents shuttling between cities and their native places, sometimes carrying their children, the education of the young ones is often interrupted. Most of them grow up to join the uneducated workforce.

There are also instances of the elderly deserted permanently by their children and left to survive on public welfare schemes such as Anna Bhagya and Sandhya Suraksha. “I have four children. But how does it matter? All of them have gone to Mumbai, leaving me and my wife behind. They don’t even call us to enquire about our health, let alone send some money,” says Pathu Chinna Rathod, an 80-year old man from Sasaragaon hamlet. He also has a 30-year-old mentally challenged daughter to care for.

MNREGA implementation

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which was introduced to provide work to the rural labouring masses at their neighbourhoods, is of little help to these people as it is poorly implemented in their villages. “For the past two years, no MNREGA work has been undertaken,” says Eknath Dhanshetty Rathod, a youth from Rummanaguda hamlet.

“Lack of livelihood options in their neighbourhoods is driving people out. They end up as construction labourers, and their living conditions in cities too are pathetic,” says Sharanabasappa Mamshetty, a farmers’ activist.

However, in the high-voltage campaign for the Chincholi Assembly byelection, necessitated by the resignation of its MLA Umesh Jadhav, the plight of those in Sasaragaon or Rammanaguda tanda does not seem to matter.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 5:20:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/these-hamlets-in-chincholi-are-full-of-the-very-old-and-the-very-young/article27153985.ece

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