Terna Public Charitable Trust is a non-government organization (NGO) incepted in the year 1980, by Hon. Dr. Padmasingh Patil. Based in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra, the NGO specifically works towards implementing solutions on the severe drought situation here.
Located in the south eastern part of Maharashtra, Osmanabad district is a typically arid and less developed region of the state. Harsh summers,low rainfall and consequent water scarcity has led to glaring socio-economic problems here.
The Drought Scenario
Maharashtra is the most industrially developed state of the Indian subcontinent. It has registered the highest per capital income and contributes a significant part of India’s GDP. However the eastern and south eastern parts of Maharashtra which are predominantly dependent on agriculture, have always faced low rainfall and water scarcity. Repeated dry spells have naturally affected the local economy leading to poverty, unemployment and large scale migration to the cities.
The district receives an average of about 700 mm of rainfall as observed in the period from 2002 to 2011. However the readings have been falling in the subsequent years with 2015 receiving almost half of the annual average precipitation!
Geographically, Osmanabad district is situated at a higher altitude than neighbouring districts because of which water levels from outside do not flow into Osmanabad. Although there are five rivers flowing through the region namely, Manjra, Seena, Bori, Terna and Benitura, a lot of fertile soil from the shores has got collected in the river beds affecting the volume of flowing waters. Erosion of fertile soil has also affected the productivity of the land.
Terna Public Charitable Trust has been making consistent efforts to clean up the river beds and make them free of sludge so as to increase their capacity and to help in containing greater volumes of rainwater.
This year the scenario is no better. In fact worse. Following alarmingly dry monsoons in 2015, the districts of Osmanabad, Latur, Beed and a few others have been facing an extremely grim drought situation.
Cracked earth, dried up rivers and dam reservoirs reaching bottom levels have not only deprived fields of water but even humans and cattle of drinking water!
The worst hit is the farmer. Under heavy debt and with crops wilting away because of drought, more than —— farmers have committed suicide in the district of Osmanabad. Statistics shows that 176 farmers embraced death in the year 2015, which is more than double of the year before! In 2016, the number is already 53 in the first half. Several other families are today in the shadow of suicides, that may happen anytime. One farmer’s death means an entire family becoming destitute.