Survey finds ‘famine-like situation’ in Bundelkhand

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

Over 96% households report crop loss, 86% say they have lowered dal intake, says Swaraj Abhiyan

The Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh, which comprises seven districts, is in the grip of a famine-like situation with widespread crop loss, scarcity of drinking water and poor nutrition, says a survey by Swaraj Abhiyan, which recently concluded “Samvedna Yatras” in all drought-hit regions in the country.


“This is the third successive drought in Bundelkhand, with 96 per cent households reporting loss of previous Rabi crop,” said Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, while releasing the survey findings here on Wednesday. He, however, added that this was a “broad picture” based on responses, and cautioned that “some people could have exaggerated crop losses.”


As per the rapid survey, 92 per cent households reported complete loss of their moong dal crop and 84 per cent households said they had lost all arhar dal (tur) crop in the region, which is known as a “pulse-bowl”.  

Swaraj Abhiyan, which covered 27 tehsils in the seven districts -- Banda, Chitrakoot, Lalitpur, Jhansi, Jalaun, Mahoba, Hamirpur – surveyed 1,206 households in 109 villages, of which about 400 were poor, during the period between Holi (March and Diwali (November).


“The nutritional levels are alarming,” said Yadav, adding that when asked about their food consumption, 86 per cent households said they had cut down dal intake, 79 per cent said they eat roti/rice with salt or chutney, and 84 per cent said they had cut down on milk for their children.


According to the survey, 38 per cent villages had reported at least one death due to hunger/malnutrition.


Yadav said “multi-pronged distress” was visible in the area, with 71 per cent households reporting indebtedness, 40 per cent reported distress sale of cattle, 27 per cent had to let go off cattle, 27 per cent had to mortgage/sell land and 97 per cent said their debts had increased.


The situation of joblessness was also found to be acute, with most poor households reporting on 9.5 days of work since Holi under MGNREGA, the rural job scheme that guarantees at least 100 days of wage employment under law.


Published on November 26, 2015

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