Devgiri/ Sambhaji Nagar (Aurangabad), April 13, 2013 Over 15 districts in Maharashtra have record drought. More than 6000 villages / towns have been facing the biggest crisis after 1972. Dams have exhausted water & over 10 Lakh people (farmers & all those who run allied trades / businesses that depend on agriculture) have helplessly left their homes with families. Some of them are in the nearby towns & cities searching for some work. Some along with the cattle have taken shelters in fodder camps being run by VHP, other social organizations & Govt.
While meeting farmers & others in such villages like Tembhurni in Jalana Dist, Jafrabad Tehsil & village Parundi in Sambhaji Nagar (Aurangabad) dist, VHP’s International Working President Dr Pravin Togadia said, “Farmers feed
the nation. Today when they, Gou Mata & other cattle & our mother earth are in trouble, agony & pain because of the drought. It is every citizen’s duty to be with them in their hour of need even if we can contribute just the squirrel’s share. VHP has specific supports lined up for the drought affected:
- Day to day living is a serious concern now for the farmers & youth in their families. VHP has made arrangements for 5000 such people to get jobs in the factories / gardens / other establishments – some in the towns around & some in the cities like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Akola etc. For 3 months of summer they will work this way. This has been possible due to generous & kind businessmen & industrialists. When monsoon starts, they will like to go back to their villages to their farms.
- VHP also has specific plans lined up to give work for 5000 more. This makes the number 10,000.
- All 10,000 people working at many places will be given staying arrangement & food free of cost. Their families will also be them as old parents, little kids & others have to be sheltered & cared for.
- This stay & food arrangement has been done by VHP in coordination with many temples, ashrams, hostels, schools etc.
- In June when these 10,000 will go back to their villages at the start of Monsoon, VHP will also care for getting them proper seeds, natural fertilizers etc.
- There are many yet staying in villages but with severe shortage of water. VHP has purchased 2 second hand tankers that travel many little Badis & villages supplying water to the drought affected. More arrangement for water is being made.
- Cattle suffer in drought. VHP is already running 2 Cattle Camps: a) In Shevgav – Ahmednagar Dist b) In Akalvadi – Sangli Dist. 11 more camps are about to start shortly. Fodder, water & medical care for the cattle are being done by VHP, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vaahini workers with the kind support from the citizens & corporate who respect their social responsibility.
- Some farmers have committed suicide due to drought & ensuing sufferings. I met one such family in Aasarkheda (Jalana Dist) at their home to know what exactly our organization can do to help them & also to prevent such tragedies.
- Many children used to go to schools in these villages. Due to the displacement of their families, they had to drop out of their schools at the exam time. VHP has been urging the govt to ensure that these children do not lose one full year & their exam can be arranged later when they go back to their respective villages & settle down after monsoon. This can be in August as they will go back in June during monsoon & sure will need at least 2 months to resettle.”
Dr Togadia further appealed, “We, as a socio-religious organization have been trying to do as much we can for the drought affected. However, we do not have political power that of any Govt nor do we have huge resources that are available to Govts & Corporates. Rising above any political differences, all people, parties, corporate should come together to help these farmers, other small traders like potter, tractor mechanic, carpenter & the likes in their difficult times. They are not beggars; they feed all of us through their hard work! Agriculture decline, water shortage, crop damages, soil deterioration & forced loans have already affected them due to misplaced priorities & wrong policies of the Govts. But this is not the time to start a blame game; it’s time to raise a helping hand TOGETHER.
I appeal to all that:
- Keep your 1 day’s income / salary aside & donate it to these drought affected. You may specify how you would like the help be used. VHP will coordinate further & you can call Hindu Help Line for contact facilitation with VHP. The numbers: 020- 66803300 and 075886 82181; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your support will be used for farmers, water, feeding Gou Mata & other cattle and also in June when these farmers will need the best quality of seeds for their parched farms.
- Corporates & others, who wish to help by giving tanker full of water, also may contact the same numbers above to know the system & specific mechanism to ensure that the tankers reach the needy in the villages. It is not only the farmers, those who have still stayed back in their villages, have severe shortage of water. Women have to queue up hours together & use the same water again & again. Your support will go a long way for them.
- These drought affected want to live with self-respect. They are ready to work hard. VHP appeals to the businessmen, corporate, industrialists, traders, shop keepers & others to give employment / work to them in & around Nagpur, Akola, Aurangabad, Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur, Mumbai etc for 3 months. We have made their stay & food arrangements while they work.
There are other states too where some districts have been affected by drought & many villages & towns have been facing similar concerns. VHP plans to extend its helping hand throughout there as well. Those who want to get Punya of giving water to the thirsty; sheltering the needy & the cattle; helping kids, youth & women; caring for the Mother Earth – may contact the above numbers for facilitation & the for further coordination with the local VHP units.”