People to get training on orange cultivation in Buxa Hills
Kolkata: The Panchayats and Rural Development department has taken up a unique scheme to train people on how to grow oranges in the Buxa Hills in Alipurduar in North Bengal with a view to make them self-reliant.
The money to look after the saplings will be taken from the funds available under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
Around 22,557 high yielding saplings have been distributed among 309 selected families.
To implement the scheme and maintain the saplings in the first year, every family got 55 days work and in the second and third year, they got 20 days work and it is expected that the trees will start bearing fruits from the end of third year. Though the number of fruits per tree in the first year would be around 40 to 50 oranges, from the fifth year each tree will yield 200 to 500 oranges. Every family will be able to earn anywhere between Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000.
Before the commencement of the scheme, every family was given training by the district technical officer (horticulture and forestry) and district horticultural officer.
To implement the project, district administration tied up with Central Research Laboratory in Kalimpong that has been carrying out research on oranges for quite some time. The laboratory supplies not only healthy sapling s but also takes active part in training.
The district administration took the scheme to produce Mandarin variety of oranges. Oranges will be available in far off areas like Adma, Chunabhati, Panbari, Buxafort and Phulbari. Those who have their own land and can join the scheme by getting in touch with Rajabhatkhaoa gram panchayat. The panchayat prepared a list of beneficiaries. In the first year, the families were given training in planting the saplings and nurturing them. A sum of Rs 11.35 lakh was allotted under MGNREGA.
It may be recalled that oranges from Buxa area was famous. During winter, oranges from this area were sent to Dooars. Qualitatively, the oranges were better than its counterparts grown in other parts of North Bengal.
But over the past few years, the orange production in the area has fallen drastically and many trees got damaged. The reason being some sort of disease but the poor people could not detect the real cause behind such low production.
Due to this initiative by the Panchayat and Rural Development department, the farmers are not only getting training to produce better quality fruits but also enhance their economic condition considerably.