Absence of rain forcing Tharis to migrate
By: Prem Shivani
MITHI: Despite two and a half months into the rainy season, it has not rained adequately in 95 per cent areas in Tharparkar district, resulting in drought-like situation and forcing poor families to migrate to neighbouring districts along with their cattle in search of food and water.
Hanso, Ismail and Dano, herdsmen, told Dawn on Wednesday there was no grass left to feed the cattle. As a result, a large number of camel, goats and sheep were being hit by various diseases and dying over the past couple of weeks, cutting their prices by more than 50 per cent, they said.
Life in the desert depends wholly on rains but pattern of monsoon rains have changed to the detriment of desert. Ironically, last year’s heavy rains in the desert had caused devastation, destroyed crops and houses and killed thousands of cattle heads instead of bringing prosperity.
A survey conducted by this correspondent revealed that majority of the poor scheduled caste families who could barely make both ends meet could not celebrate their religious festival Janam Ashtmi (birth anniversary of Lord Kirshna) were seen moving to adjoining areas in search of livelihood.
It has become almost a routine since British rule that in case of no rains till August 15th, the government declares Thar a calamity-hit area and initiates relief measures.
A senior revenue officer of the district administration said that it had rained sparsely and lightly only in some villages of Tharparkar region, mukhtiarkars and assistant commissioners had been directed to submit reports to the deputy commissioner to enable him to send a report to the relief commissioner and chief secretary for taking necessary measures and declaring Tharparkar as calamity-hit area besides initiating relief measures.