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- Village interventions.
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- Day by day in the village.
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- Learnings from Narmada
- Learnings Down the Years
Monday, 18 May 2015
The starving cows, - or 'the story of the milk that we drink in cities'.
Munneshwari was telling me that her husband Darkalaiyna is more totally into drink, and simply does not work. He wanted to sell away the cows, as there is nothing for them to graze on. But she has held onto them, as otherwise she will have nothing to earn with for her two girls.
She bought a tractor load of straw for 10,000/-. I asked her where she got the money from, and she said somehow she got it from someone in the next hamlet Banakadapalle. I asked her what the interest was and she said 5/- (per month. Which is 60% p.a.).
There is not even water for the cows, and the tractor gets limited number of pots of water per home per day from the one live bore in the panchayat. So she leaves water pots in everyone's home, and they pour the water from washing rise into it, and the rice starch, and that she collects and manages that as one round for the cows.'
Every family is in dire straits, and two calves have died. The village people also feel it is only their call, as do the city consumers of the milk. The risks are totally carried by their frail and breaking shoulders.
We are trying to get this classified as 'drought affected'. The problem is that this is decided based on the rainfall at the mandal headquarters, though the rainfall variation across the mandal is vast and if Pakala town has had decent rainfall, the rest of the Pakala mandal will be denied any drought benefit. But in an earlier drought when a fodder camp was set up, it was in Pakala 15km away ! So no one marched their cows there in the searing heat for the fodder ...
The village people have little hope of the government today. When I told Krishnamurthy of contacting a senior officer, he smiled a smile of one who has seen it all. He said the best and most honest of the officers do nothing because there will be some silly rule that makes some scheme inapplicable. And that even though they may have the authority to bypass, they dont because then they will be blamed of favouritisim, and will be suspected. The cynicism (realsim ?) of the village about the government is total.