(News) Bundelkhand battles climate change

News : Bundelkhand battles climate change 

Farmers in the Bundelkhand region are fighting climate change the hardest way, as erratic weather conditions have led to drought in the area.

It's the onslaught of global warming and Bundelkhand, which is distributed across Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, is struggling against it.

Bundelkhand is a land stalked by hunger. For four years now, the region has seen its longest drought ever. Acres lie barren, starved of water. Only 25 percent of 10 lakh hectares has been cultivated this year.

Jogeshwar Singh in Lalauni village thought he had beaten the drought. He had somehow managed to grow wheat and chana in a small patch. But his happiness was short lived when the rains, which had eluded the region for such a long time, suddenly arrived, flattening the ripe crop.

"First the drought, somehow I managed to get water for irrigation and now this rain has destroyed everything," said Jogeshwar Singh, Bundelkhand.

For Sunderlal, unseasoned rains wiped out his chana and wheat crop this weekend. The worst off was the Soya belt last year. Farmers had to sow twice because first drought killed the crop and the second time they sowed, it poured.

"Currently we just don't understand the weather. In summer it gets stormy and it rains. During monsoons, the rain is missing and when the winter is about to end, it gets so cold that all our vegetables, wheat and other crops fail," said Praveen, farmer, Indore.

Village after village lie deserted, as families have migrated in search of food and employment. But the elderly have no choice. Left behind because of their age, many like Lilu Bayee often go hungry and just live to wait for death.

"I have not eaten the whole day. I am hungry for the last three days. Everyone has left. I am dying of hunger," said Lilu Bayee, Bandini Village, Chattarpur

Such situations are common in Bundelkhand and the landless and the daily wagers are the worst hit.

Recognising the link between erratic weather cycles and livelihood, the state government set up a committee on climatic change last year to help farmers adapt to the new weather conditions.

"Their purchasing power is snatched away and their capacity to pay and engage landless people on the farm also goes down. Because of prices rise, availability gets constricted," said Sompal Shastri, Chairman, Committee on Climatic Change.

Food security of the entire nation is on their minds since MP is the highest producer of pulses and the oil seeds in the country and according to the 2006 Environment Report; it contributes nearly eight per cent of food grains to the national kitty.

"So anything goes wrong in terms of climatic change and the way it's affecting agricultural sector, it would certainly mean the entire nation's food production would be impacted," said Lokendre Thakaar, Member, Al Gore Team on Climatic Change, India.

Many fear that if the erratic behaviour of the climate continues, it will set off a vicious cycle of hunger and malnutrition.

More and more farmers will become landless; meanwhile the landless and the labourers with no job security will be further pushed to starvation and malnutrition, prone to all kind of diseases. It may also force people to live like refugee in their own land.

Courtesy : NDTV.COM