| Lakhan Yadav, Jharna Devi and their granddaughter with the saplings in Baniakura. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Residents in a Maoist- and drought-hit village in the district got a new meaning to their lives on Saturday.
Ahead of its third foundation day on August 5, Bihar Agriculture University (BAU), Sabour, adopted Baniakura and provided plants and livestock to 204 families to help create income-generating opportunities for them.
The village, under Katoria block, around 39km from the Banka district headquarters, wore a festive look on Saturday and its residents appeared busy planting the saplings.
Jharna Devi (58) and Lakhan Yadav (73), who came with their six-year-old granddaughter, Mamta Kumari, had high hopes. “Our three sons migrated to distant places in fear of Maoists and owing to lack of opportunities. We hope these saplings would not only keep us engaged but support us in our old age,” said Lakhan.
BAU gifted two mango, two banana and two sahjan saplings apart from 10 high-breed chicks of Grampriya and Vanraj varieties developed by itself to each family in the village.
The occasion, however, frustrated many from neighbouring villages. “Why Baniakura only, what about us? Why are we not being provided with such saplings?” asked Ghyandhari Yadav, a resident of adjacent Sizuha village.
R.K. Sohane, director, extension of education, BAU, said: “The varsity had earlier announced about adopting this village. So, the villagers became the beneficiaries. We would later provide such saplings to other villages.”
BAU vice-chancellor M.L. Choudhary said: “Adopting this village is a part of the varsity’s extension programme. Left wing extremism and recurring drought have resulted in large-scale migration of the younger generation. We would help develop farmers’ skills in farming.”
Choudhary said Sanjay Mandal, a senior soil scientist of BAU, has been deputed to look after agriculture-related problems of the farmers. “At an interval of every 15 days, he would came to the village to listen to agriculture-related problems and would assist the farmers here,” he added.
The vice-chancellor, who came to the village with his subordinates and BAU students, planted many saplings in the courtyards of villagers. “We have provided the villagers saplings of fruit trees and high-breed chicks to help improve their condition,” said Choudhary. He added that BAU has been conducting research on high-yield variety seeds to help villagers of drought-hit places like Baniakura.