The prolonged drought in Vidarbha and Marathwada has been hitting children of farmers in these regions hard. With drought comes consistent loss of crops and farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford higher and professional education cost of their children, leading to a large scale drop out post HSC.
Who is Maroti Chapke?
He was an engineering student of Pune-based Sinhgad Institute of Engineering who was forced to drop out of college as his farmer father was unable to afford his fee (Rs95,000 a year) as he had suffered heavy losses due to the drought.
What does he do now?
Maroti is now helping his father in farms.
When did he join college?
In 2010-11. Maroti was the happiest person then as he had got a seat in Electronics and Telecommunication. It was a historic moment for the village too as Maroti was the first in Katneshwar (taluka Purna) in Parbhani to get an engineering seat.
Is he the only one affected?
No. There are many farmers' children in Vidarbha and Marathwada who have thus had to drop out.
Have institutions been affected?
Yes, they have been. Over half the first year seats in engineering institutions in Nagpur, Amravati and Aurangabad (highest in state) are lying vacant this year. There has also been a steep decline in enrolment in the past three years.
Is this farming country?
It's. Over 70% of the families here dependent on agriculture or related activities.
How long has drought lasted?
For over four years drought has been playing havoc with lives of farmers. Almost 75% of Marathwada region has received less than 25% of average seasonal rainfall. The situation in western Vidarbha region is no better.
Vacancies in engg colleges 1st year):
2014-15: Amravati and Nagpur divisions: over 48%; in Aurangabad division: 55%.
2013-14: Nearly 33% (all three divisions).
2012-13: 27% (all three divisions).
"Nearly two dozen engineering colleges have closed down in last three years in these regions due to decline in demand following drought," said a DTE official.
Arts, Science and Commerce colleges are also seeing a drop. The higher education directorate does not have data on this though.