first_imgKutch, India’s largest district, is in the grip of one of the worst droughts. The western and northern Banni areas of this Gujarat district have been without rain for the third continuous year.“Our data of over 12 years shows that during this drought the migration of the Maldhari tribal herders with their livestock has been very high,” says Ramesh Bhatti, programme director of Sahjivan Trust, Bhuj.“In their quest for water, people of Sheth Vandh in Banni get together, pray and start digging. Those in the surrounding villagers also join in,” says Abdul Rauf Mutwa, a local leader. Why has drought hit the Maldharis of Kutch so hard this year? Before Partition, the Maldharis used to migrate to Sindh during droughts, recalls Jumma Sama, a former sarpanch of Ratadia village.The drought has not spared Khadir island along the India-Pakistan border either.Jilubha Sodha of Dholavira in Khadir, who runs a cattle camp, says water from a branch canal of the Narmada project would be very valuable at such times, but it has not yet reached the area.(Images and text by Vijay Soneji)last_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *