Lokesh Verma, a farmer from Nainital’s Chanfi village, says this is the third year in a row that he is bearing losses in agriculture. “I have lost around Rs 2 lakh and there’s a debt of Rs 70,000 to pay off. I grow strawberries, guavas and peas in my 15 bighas of land, but there is not enough water in the hills to irrigate crops properly,” he says.
On October 22, 35-year-old Lallu Yadav was celebrating Govardhan Pooja, a Hindu festival celebrated after Diwali, in Panchkurha village, almost 22 kms from the district headquarters of Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh.
“Earlier, I'd wait till sunset to answer nature's call. In the morning, I'd wait for others to return from the fields so I could go. Quite often, I had to miss school for this very reason. And I'm grown up now; so having a toilet in the house has become a must," says class IX student Jyoti Gaud, a resident of Tiktha Mussallepur village in Jagatpur.