Wednesday, June 27, 2012

West India drought fuels migration to cities

Darryl D'Monte in AlertNet: Worsening drought in western India is making it harder for men to find brides and pushing poor rural families to seek work in cities, as government policies to help them deal with crop failure and financial pressures fall short.

More than a dozen young men in a village in Khatav sub-district in Satara, in the west Indian state of Maharashtra, have been waiting in vain for brides for more than two years, since the dry spell began, the Daily New and Analysis (DNA) newspaper reported in May.

...As well as doing household chores, young brides are expected to fetch water from wells up to 3 km away in the searing heat – a burden some don’t want to take on. And in order to get by after poor harvests, some wives have had to join the federal government’s rural employment guarantee scheme, which provides villagers with up to 100 days’ work a year.

Other families have left their villages, along with their cattle, to look for work in cities including Mumbai, the state capital, less than 300 km away. Once there, many become slum dwellers.

Some 6,000 people out of Maan sub-district’s population of 200,000 have permanently migrated to urban areas in the past year, according to Yogendra Katiyare, the top local government official. Last year’s census shows that the inhabitants of Aundh village, for example, dropped to 7,500 from 9,000 a decade ago....

The Mumbai-Pune Expressway, seen from Khandala, shot by Mouleesha, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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