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Maize mess on national highway

Farmers in two east Bihar districts have taken to a national highway to thresh their crops, while the district administration has failed to stop the practice.

For the past few years, National Highway (NH) 57 passing through Purnea — around 375km northeast of Patna — and Araria town has turned into a threshing ground for the maize farmers in the area.

Rakesh Mandal, a 45-year-old Purnea resident, said: “We maintain a certain speed while taking the highway, as it is a four-lane road. When we see farmers threshing or drying the maize, we have to brake abruptly and end up injured.”

The farmers claim to dry and thresh the crop, they need a hard surface which is unavailable in the districts forcing them to come to the metalled roads of the highway. Farmers from different corners of Purnea and Araria districts, including Jalalgarh and Jamua respectively, come to NH-57 to thresh the cash crop.

Jalalgarh station house officer Mohammad Akmal Hussain said: “We have warned the farmers, but they plead with us. Recently, a farmer was also arrested but then released on a personal bail bond.”