Other States

Bundelkhand starves as rains give it a miss

household survey by the Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj Abhiyan in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region has found that over a third of households had not been able to consume any dal over the previous month, half had eaten no vegetables for over 10 days. Nearly one in five had been forced to eat rotis made of grass, the survey found.

India faced only its second consecutive drought this year, with Uttar Pradesh experiencing the highest rainfall deficit. Bundelkhand, the impoverished district, is experiencing its third consecutive drought, and the rabi crop was also damaged by a hailstorm.

Swaraj Abhiyan volunteers surveyed 807 households across all of Bundelkhand’s tehsils, and conducted face-to-face interviews at the respondent’s home. The survey was conducted between October 27 and November 9 and was directed by Mr. Yadav with help from economists Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera.

Crop losses

Over 60 per cent of all households reported crop losses, depending upon the crop they were growing, the survey found. The largest losses were reported for soyabean, where 96 per cent of all households suffered.

Households had been forced to reduce consumption of all major food items including dal, vegetables, meat and fish. More than 80 per cent of households had been forced to reduce dal consumption and reduce the amount of milk they gave their children. One in five of the poorest households said they had gone hungry at least once in the last month.

More than two out of three among all households said that they were often or sometimes not sure of getting two square meals a day; 38 per cent of the surveyed villages reported at least one death from hunger or malnutrition.

As a result, households had been forced into distress measures including sending their children to work or withdrawing them from school, borrowing money, selling ornaments and selling land. There were signs of an acute cattle emergency, the survey found, with households forced to reduce feed, let their cattle go or sell them.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:46:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bundelkhand-starves-as-rains-give-it-a-miss/article7919956.ece

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