Drought leads to largescale migrations
Srikakulam, Sept. 16: Hit hard by the fourth consecutive drought, small and marginal farmers and farm labourers are migrating from the district. According to unofficial estimates, over 1.5 lakh farmers and farm labourers have become migrant labourers and are working in various districts of the State and neighbouring States like Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Some have gone as far as Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Never in the history of the district were the farmers converted into labourers on such a massive scale. Due to crop failures, the farmers are leaving behind their families as collateral security towards their financial commitments and moving out of the district. Nearly half of the migrants are medium level farmers,'' said AP Rythu Coolie Sangham district president Tandra Prakash.
According to the 1991 Census, 20.27 lakh persons live in rural parts out of a total population of 23.21 lakh in the district. In 2001 Census, the rural population had gone up to 22.5 lakh out of a total population of 25.28 lakh.
Census officials said villages in the district recorded lowest population growth. This was mainly because of the largescale migration. In most of the villages elderly persons, children and women are left behind. Officials admitted that these children are being taken to nearest cities like Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada as labourers.
The migration of adults and male children indicated the failure of various schemes launched by the government, said Prakash. He said the government had no plan of action to stop the migration. However, the political parties have no qualms about bringing back the migrant labour during the elections, he said.
Out of 38 mandals in the district, 26 were declared drought-hit in 1997. All the mandals were declared in 1998 and 2001. In 1999, 35 mandals were declared drought-hit.