It's Raining Sand in Rayalaseema

Sainath, P.
Date Written:  2019-07-12
Publisher:  CounterPunch
Year Published:  2019
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23750

In the Rayalaseema region in India, changing agriculture has reduced biodiversity, depleting the soil and leading to aridity and sandstorms.



That disaster won’t be long in coming. "There was hardly a single bore 20 years ago," says V. L. Himachal, 46, a farmer with 12.5 acres in the desertified area. "It was all rainfed agriculture. Now there are between 300-400 borewells in about 1,000 acres. And we strike water by 30-35 feet, sometimes higher." That's one borewell to every three acres, or less.

That's high density, even for Anantapur which, as Malla Reddy points out, "has close to 270,000 borewells, though the carrying capacity of the district is 70,000. And almost half this huge number are dry this year...."

"Three months in the year – it's raining sand in this village," says M. Basha, another desert cultivator. "It comes into our homes; it gets into our food." The winds bring sand flying into even those homes not so close to the dunes. Netting or extra doors don't always work. "Isaka varsham [sand rain] is part of our lives now, we just live with it."
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