- Champati Khare is a landless labourer and lives in Basambha village of Hingoli district
Making ends meet and the growing medical expenses has made life hell for 23-year-old Champati Khare — a landless labourer from the drought affected ares of Marathwada.
Champati — who lives with his wife and two daughter in a small tinshed at Basambha village in Hingoli district — lost his youngest daughter due to prolonged illness. “I tried my best to save my four-year-old daughter, Pratiksha, by taking her to various hospitals. I was given Rs 13,000 as loan from my landowner on the condition that I work for him for a year. The entire money was spent but we failed to saver her life,” he said.
Champati added: “If I had enough money, I would have managed to save her. The drought has affected everyone in our village due to which financial transactions have come to a standstill. We are the victims and there is no one to help from this poverty ridden life.”
Owing to drought, his landowner also reduced the annual labour contract package from Rs 60,000 to Rs 53000. “Few years ago, a saldar (annual contract labourer) used to earn over Rs 60,000 per year work. Now, due to the drought the amount has been slashed. Big farmers are only offering anything between Rs 50,000 and Rs 53000,” said Champati.
He added: “Due to drought, there is no work in the farms so I herd cattle for grazing in the hills. People have stopped lending money in fear that they might not be able to recover it.”
Champati also tried going to the city for work, but could not adjust to the long working hours and odd city life. “Two year ago, I went to Nashik where I was paid Rs 4,000 per month. The expenses were so high in the city, including food and accommodation, I was unable to sustain myself and could not save any money. Therefore, I decided to go back home and work in the fields. I was earning less but I was happy. However, the drought has affected us pretty snatching our bread and butter,” he said.
Champati has also taken a loan of Rs 40,000 from relatives and friends. “Getting a job tops my priority list as it will help me earn money to feed my family. Luckily, I am a contact labourer and I manage to get some job. But I am not sure for how long will this situation continue as the drought has crippled everyone. Big farmers are also finding it tough to make the ends meet. Therefore, I am also living in constant fear of losing my job,” he says.
The 23-year-old, who has studied till Std X, said now he has realised the importance of education and his aim is to feed and educate his daughters. “My wife also wants to work but as my daughters are young she needs to stay behind and look after them. I hope things will change soon. Otherwise, there are bad days ahead. If situation are this bad in monsoon— the harvest period — you can imagine what will happen in summer,” asked Champati.
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