| K Venkateswara Rao (right) visits Purnadih village in Jamui on Saturday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Nabard has stressed the need of plantation schemes to stem migration of residents from Naxalite affected villages of the district.
K. Venkateswara Rao, the chief general manager, Bihar regional office of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), stressed on addressing the problems of these villagers by providing financial loans for livelihood opportunities.
On Saturday, Rao, the Jamui development manager of Nabard, Sanjeev Kumar, and other officials visited several villages like Purnadih in Lakshmipur block and hailed the success of Nabard’s Wasteland Area Development Initiative (Wadi). Under the scheme, a tribal family is encouraged to plant fruit-bearing trees with financial assistance. The project has been launched in villages like Purnadih, Kamlu, Mahuatan Salon, Thari, Jogia, Banjhikusum, Jharna, Kusitari, Maria Bathan, Baghmarwa and Goura.
Located around 44km east of the Jamui district headquarters, Purnadih is an inaccessible terrain, falling under the Naxalite-hit Lakshmipur block.
Rebels frequently arrive in the village at odd hours and demand shelter and food. “We live in a place so inaccessible that not even the police would be able to rescue us from the rebels. We are, thus, forced to obey them,” said Mahadev Marandi, a villager. Under the scheme’s first phase, 50 families have started cultivating saplings of fruit trees.
Another 50 landless families have been provided with goats and bee boxes to boost their livelihood opportunities. “The forest department plants trees but this time it’s an opportunity to change our fate,” said Sugia Devi (54).
“Many have migrated from the village, either because of the Naxalites or to seek a better livelihood. But, the new generation would be the real beneficiaries of the fruit trees,” said Putni Devi (27), a homemaker, whose husband Pappu Tudu (36) has migrated to Punjab.
“My land was lying useless. With Wadi’s help, I would develop it into a fruit orchard,” said Baleshwar Soren, a villager. “We are trying to counter migration and assuring villagers a better future with the Wadi scheme. We would provide one beneficiary with Rs 40,000 and assist the family for seven years,” Rao said. According to him, Jan Vikas Samity, Itasagar, Jamui, has been appointed as the implementing agency.
Nabard development manager Sanjeev said: “The implementing agency and experts would supervise the scheme and ensure water for irrigation.” Nabard would introduce agro-horti forestry, inter-cropping, soil and moisture management, livelihood promotion, women development, community health and micro-finance, besides formation of self-help groups.