Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh: It’s a conventional Indian cinema fight-in-the-desert scene. Against the historical past of dunes and depressions with a tiny sprinkling of scrub plant life, the hero rises from the burning sands of a barren, barren region to beat the horrific guys to a pulp. Adding masses of heat and dirt to that already bestowed via nature, he brings the movie to a satisfying end (except for the villains). Countless Indian films have staged the one’s scenes in a few desolate wildernesses of Rajasthan. Or even within the ravines of the Chambal valley in Madhya Pradesh.
This arid, barren region scene (see video clip) used no locations from Rajasthan or the Chambal. It becomes shot deep in the southern peninsula, in Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema region. This particular patch of a few 1,000 acres in Anantapur district – as soon as blanketed with the aid of millet cultivation – has over many many years turn out to be more and more a wilderness. That has been pushed often using paradoxical elements – and created the form of area that filmmakers ship out vicinity scouts to search for.
In Dargah Honnur village, wherein the principal landowners of this patch reside, it turned into hard to get everybody to accept as true with we have been not film area scouts. “Which film is that this for? When is it coming?” become either a specific query or one on their minds. With a few, you can see a brief ebbing of interest when they discovered we had been newshounds.
The Telugu film makers that made the region well-known – Jayam Manade Raa (Victory is Ours) – shot the ones fight scenes right here between 1998 and 2000. Like any diligent commercial filmmakers might, they tinkered with their ‘set’ to beautify the wilderness effect. “We needed to uproot our crop (for which they compensated us),” says Pujari Linganna, forty-five, whose circle of relatives owns the 34 acres wherein the combat changed into a shot. “We also removed a few vegetation and small trees so it’d look greater actual.” Deft camerawork and the smart use of filters did the relaxation.
If the makers of Jayam Manade Raa were capturing a 20-years-after sequel nowadays, they could do an awful lot, much less. Time and tormented nature and relentless human intervention have affected all the wasteland enhancements they might ask for.
But it’s a curious desolate tract patch. There remains cultivation – because there is nonetheless groundwater very near the surface. “We hit the water in this patch at just 15 ft underneath,” says P. Honnureddy, Linganna’s son. In a great deal of Anantapur, borewells won’t find water before 500-six hundred toes. In components of the district, they have breached the 1,000-foot mark. Yet here is water gushing out of a four-inch borewell as we communicate. That a whole lot of water, so close to the floor, in this warm and sandy patch?
“That complete area lies in a prolonged riverbed,” explains Palthuru Mukanna, a farmer from a nearby village. What river? We can see nothing. “They constructed a dam [around five] many years ago, a few 25-30 kilometers from Honor, at the Vedavathi river that ran thru right here. Our stretch of Vedavathi (a tributary of the Tungabhadra – also referred to as the Aghori) absolutely dried up.”
“That is indeed what befell,” says Malla Reddy of the Ecology Centre (of Anantapur’s Rural Development Trust) – few realize this location as well as he does. “And the river can be useless, but, over centuries, it helped create an underground reservoir of water that is now being relentlessly mined and extracted. At a charge which signals a coming catastrophe.”
That disaster received’t be long in coming. “There changed into hardly ever a single bore two decades ago,” says V.L. Himachal, forty-six, a farmer with 12.5 acres in the desertified region. “It becomes all rainfed agriculture. Now there are between three hundred-four hundred borewells in about 1,000 acres. And we strike water using 30-35 toes, once in a while higher.” That’s one borewell to every three acres or less.
That’s excessive density, even for Anantapur, which, as Malla Reddy points out, “has near 270,000 borewells, although the sporting capacity of the district is 70,000. And nearly 1/2 this big range are dry this year.”
So what are the borewells in these badlands for? What’s being cultivated? What stands proud inside the patch we’re exploring is not even the district’s all-pervasive groundnut crop, but bajra. That millet is cultivated right here for seed multiplication. However, not for intake or the market for seed businesses, that have reduced in size the farmers for this process. You can see male and girl plant life laid out well in adjacent rows. The businesses are growing a hybrid from unique lines of bajra. This operation will take a terrific deal of water. What’s left of the plant after seed extraction will at exceptional serve as fodder.
“We get Rs 3,800 in line with quintal for this seed replication work,” says Pujari Linganna. That seems low, given the labor and care worried – and the truth that the groups will promote those seeds to the identical class of farmers at very excessive costs—another cultivator on this patch, Y.S. Shantamma says her own family gets Rs 3,seven-hundred a quintal.
Shantamma and her daughter Vandakshi say the hassle of cultivating here isn’t always water. “We even get water in the village, although we don’t have any piped connection at home.” Their headache is the sand, which can collect very rapidly besides the massive extent that already exists. And trudging throughout even short distances on sand numerous toes deep may be tiring.