A host of problems, from scanty rainfall to poverty, has affected life in Tumakuru’s Pavagada taluk.

With the worst of summer yet to set in this Ktaka taluk is already in grip of water crisis
Delve Health Monday, April 09, 2018 - 16:08

Dry land with hardly any human presence as far as the eye can see – even in the early days of summer, the Pavagada taluk in Tumakuru is in the grip of a water shortage and food crisis.

The taluk lies about two-hours away from Bengaluru. To get to it, one needs to cross the Andhra Pradesh border, and people here speak more Telugu than Kannada.

The taluk is heavily dependent on underground water, but thanks to scanty rainfall, the water levels have depleted drastically. For everyday living, the residents use borewell water.

The district has a literacy rate of 75.1% according to the 2011 Census, putting it in the 13th position in the state. While the male literacy in the district is 82.8%, that of females 67.4%.


The district, which is one of the most drought-prone areas in the state, is dependent on agriculture for income. Residents of the taluk work either as labourers or agriculturalists during the monsoon season, while in summers, the lands are abandoned and locals begin to migrate to other areas in search of jobs. In the monsoons, muskmelons, tomatoes, chillies and groundnuts are grown here.

At least 63.3% of the workforce here is engaged in the agricultural sector with cultivators amounting to 37.3% and agricultural labourers make up 26%.

Earlier, more groundnut was grown here; however, this has reduced as locals are looking to grow alternate crops instead of this commercial crop.  


Even though there are programmes in place to keep people abreast on the need to consume healthy food many confess that with the wages they earn, healthy fod is luxury.

Besides districts such as Raichur and Chikkaballapura, Tumakuru sees a high number of people suffering from anaemia. This is for the population between 15 and 49 years of age.

Hospital visits

The National Health and Family Survey 4 found that the average out-of-pocket expenditure per delivery in public health facility in Tumakuru amounted to Rs 6,239. Many here said they were earning just over Rs 50 on an everyday basis (with no stable jobs during the summer). For them, visits to hospitals, even government facilities, was an expensive affair. Some had to shell out about Rs 20 a day just to reach the hospital, which, they felt, would mean cutting down on a meal.

Only about 60% mothers had undergone an antenatal check-up in the first trimester according to this survey commissioned by the Union Health Ministry.

Fewer women had also received financial assistance under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) for births delivered in an institution in Tumakuru, which could be a possible deterrent for institutional visits. Only 32% said that they had received any assistance at all.

Speaking to TNM, women here said that a host of challenges, such as distance to a health facility, lack of family support and ignorance, was what lead them to opt out of formal healthcare. Meanwhile, the survey has found that 34% women said that they had undergone complete antenatal care.


Most women in the taluk confessed to have having food that is rich in carbohydrates. Most of these women said that they consumed vegetables and fruits less than once a week. For many, it was a question of affordability. For some others, it was lack of access to produce. With not much greens and fruits being grown in this belt, availability is a challenge, said the locals.

While a few eat just two meals a day, many others only consume rice with spices, with no vegetables, in a bid to save money.

Source: http://censusindia.gov.in/2011census/dchb/2917_PART_B_DCHB_TUMKUR.pdf

Read: Just 150 km from Bengaluru, 50% of women in this poor Karnataka taluk battle anaemia

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