With farming no longer viable, youngsters moving out of Chamrajnagar in search of work | Mysuru News

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MYSURU: Sampath, 40, a farmer from Bhadraianahalli, Chamrajnagar district, migrated to Bengaluru 15 years ago. Now, he manages a footwear stand at the Banashankari Temple for which he secured a contract. Bhadraianahalli, a tiny village near the Male Mahadeshwara Hills, has been facing a severe water shortage for a decade. Most agricultural activities have come to a standstill and people, mostly youngsters, have migrated to either Tamil Nadu or Bengaluru.
Bhadraianahalli, about 40km from Hanur, had a glorious past. It was once known for the millets it produced — little millet, foxtail millet and kodo millet. Villagers also cultivated paddy, ragi and maize, but now farming is rare and is limited to ragi and maize.
Locals say the problem arose 15 years ago when Gundapura Dam was constructed. Villages including Bhadraianahalli stopped receiving water. It also led to the depletion of groundwater. Earlier, water was available just 100ft, but it has fallen to 800-1,000ft. It now has one private water tanker of 600 litres capacity and the whole village is dependent on it.
“Because of the water crisis, agricultural activity has reduced,” Parashivamurthy, an inhabitant of Bhadraianahalli, said. “Youngsters are migrating to Tamil Nadu where they work as daily wagers in stone quarries earing Rs 300 per day. Some work in garment factories in Bengaluru.”
Ventakamadegowda, another local, said: “The Cauvery river flows near the taluk, but there is no canal connection. There are six lakes in the vicinity, but they have all dried up, leading to depletion of ground water. Borewells too have run dry. We do not have water for cattle too.” Besides, there is the threat of crops being destroyed by wild animals since MM Hills forest is just 2km away.
Women in neighbouring Kurattihosur say water in taps is a pipe dream. “We have water supply only if there is power supply, said Saraswathamma, 40. “Most often we have to walk 2km to fetch water. I can’t remember when we didn’t have a drinking water problem.”
The situation is no different in Gundlupet and Chamarajanagar taluks. Most locals travel to Mysuru to work as masons and construction labourers.
Deficit rainfall
Data shows there was a 37% shortfall in rain from last year which has hit sowing operations. District in-charge secretary Rajendra Kumar Kataria, deputy commissioner BB Kaveri and zilla panchayat CEO KS Latha Kumari held a meeting with officials concerned to tackle the drinking water, fodder and employment problems in the district on Monday.
M Thirumalesh, joint director, agriculture department, said, Chamarajanagar is the only district that has been receiving such pre-monsoon showers. “We have stalked sufficient quantity of seeds and fertilizers. Since sowing has not begun yet, we cannot plan contingency measures. After the district starts receiving rain, sowing will begin. Drought situation can be assessed only if there is deficit rainfall in June. We cannot jump to conclusions.”

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