The Marathwada region in Maharashtra is facing its worst-ever drought, with dry farmlands and ghost villages in 14 of the 35 districts in the region. Villagers are leaving their homes to seek livelihood in neighbouring areas and sweet lime orchards in the region spread across 100,000 acres have withered away. Though the Centre and the state have announced relief measures, an inefficient bureaucracy and banking system is compounding the farmers’ woes. If you were expecting the political establishment to be sensitive to the problem, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who also handles the state irrigation portfolio, laid to rest any such hope. At a public meeting, he mocked a farmer who has been on hunger strike demanding water: “If there is no water in the dam, how should we release it? Should we urinate into it?”