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Supplementing Rural Livelihood: A Sustainable Initiative for Agriculture & Horticulture Development in Bhatar Block

Eruar Gram Panchayat of Bhatar block under Burdwan District has implemented a comprehensive MGNREGS scheme in convergence of different sectors for strengthening economic development of the rural Job Card holders through promotion of horticulture and agriculture in a single place. In 2012-13 financial year, the gram panchayat has taken up a scheme named ‘Re-excavation of Ban & Bel Ponds, Land Development with Plantation of Fruit Saplings in Sripur Village of II no. Sansad’ and expanded the size of these ponds from ½ acre to 2 acres and made it a single farm pond. Surrounding 2 acres land of that pond owned by the gram panchayat and same land has been developed through excavated earth of that pond. Multi-fruit orchards like Banana, Guava, Mango plants have been planted in that developed land by taking numbers of social forestry schemes. Similarly, that pond is now the only irrigation source for 14 acres of agriculture land of the 50 small and marginal farmers. Not only the character of that agriculture land was transformed from one to three time productive capacity but also benefitting those small and marginal farmers by getting benefit from increased yield rate of paddy and vegetables manifolds. On completion of the scheme, the gram panchayat has handed over the entire asset to 40 rural job card holders of Sripur village who have also worked in that scheme. At present, these 40 rural households are not only maintaining this asset but also earning their livelihood through fruit orchards and pisci-culture and planning to form a cooperative for promoting a sustainable rural business.