Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Despite the recurring treacherous droughts, a wave of hope and valor has swept the farmers of a small village of Beed district in Marathwada. The Marathwada region of Maharashtra is one of the most drought-prone zones in India. In the wake of distress mass exodus of the youth from the village, the old and elderly of the Banjara community (nomadic tribe) of Nanewadi village have taken up the plough and hit the parched land to build water recharge structures. This region has seen three droughts in just four years. A drought unprecedented of its kind has rendered the landscape to be one of the most water scarce regions of the country. Team WPN has attempted to capture the narratives of resilience and valor of some of the most vulnerable people in the country right now.
Continued drought in village Nanewadi, Beed district has forced most of the villagers to migrate to the relatively prosperous western Maharashtra to work as sugarcane cutters. Out of the 10 lakh sugarcane cutters in Maharashtra, approximately half of them are from Beed district in Marathwada. Despite having some land, farmers are unable to cultivate anything due to water scarcity. They are compelled to labour for meagre wages and earnings in an extremely exploitative environment.