Touring State During Drought
Sudhakar visited multiple rural areas in Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh during the state worst drought’s episode in 2018. Out of 676 mandals of 13 districts, 296 mandals in six districts were declared drought-hit during Kharif. Sudhakar reported on the ever-increasing debts and the drought that pushed many agricultural laborers and farmers to tie their meager belongings into bundles and crowd trains which they believed will take them to better opportunities far from their troubles.
Sudhakar’s description of the scene at Tuggali railway station in Kurnool told the story of the miserable time forcing people to desert their homes. Sudhakar interviewed many families of coolies and farmers who were facing lack of water and jobs to support themselves. Some of the farmers who owned the prized Ongole bull had to sell it to repay debts. Sudhakar wrote about how the sale of cattle had drastically increased in 2018 from the previous years. The lack of fodder had become so dire that farmers had to buy it from neighboring states for double the rate.
In one of his articles, Sudhakar reported on how the drought, unfortunately, had brought an opportunistic herd of diamond and gold explorers to Kurnool interested in its deposit-rich regions. The Geological Survey of India had announced the possibility of finding diamonds in Vajrakarur and other areas which at that time had recorded deficit rainfall.
From his tour of Kappatralla, Sudhakar reported the manifestation of human misery that can be seen in the number of locked doors there. Failure to pay complete crop insurance to farmers is one of the reasons behind the ghost towns. One farmer who was promised Rs 40,000 per hectare was paid a mere Rs 2,990 per acre, despite losing his entire crop.