In this grievious drought, people are holding to straws literally. To hold on to their cows, the only asset of the landless, is their main concern, with there being neither fodder nor water. Distress sale has begun.
We are trying to get this classified as 'drought affected'. It is decided based on the rainfall at the mandal headquarters, though the variation across the mandal is vast and if Pakala town has had decent rainfall, the rest of the mandal will be denied any drought benefit. That is the situation. And when once in another drought 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.
With many meetings with the collector and other officers, it is clear that even in mandals listed as drought affected available government relief is meagre. When cows are being distress sold for lack of fodder and landless farmers are losing their only assest, all that is given is some feed for pregnant cows and calves less than six months. Too little and too late. The demands on the government front will anyway continue. That will be a long and ongoing struggle.
The 20,000/- a friend sent for the drought was debated over, and argued over, and finally the women told the men that they would meet the next day and discuss collectively and that the men with their arguments could please keep away. As always a meeting of women was focussed, and the men were asked to purchase rice the next day. Early morning five men went to Kallur and got 25 sacks and rice was distributed at the temple.