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Tourist spots to adopt composite farming practiced at Banalata resort

Kolkata: West Bengal Agro Industries Corporation (WBAIC) is planning to promote the model of composite farming adopted by private resort Banalata at Joypur in Bankura district at more resorts across the state.

The concept may emerge as a major source of employment, which has always been a priority of the Mamata Banerjee government since it assumed power for the first time in the state in 2011.

The Banalata resort provides direct employment to nearly 500 people and has become a favourite tourist destination. The government is optimistic that adoption of this model would boost the business of the resorts and generate employment for many people.

The West Bengal Agro Industries Corporation has provided necessary guidance and assistance for adoption of the model at the resort spread across 20 acres adjoining Joypur forest.

"There are a number of resorts in the state, including the private ones, where land is available. Some private resort owners in the district have already evinced interest in similar concept and have spoken to me. I have asked them to visit Banalata resort and examine the model properly. If they are interested, we on behalf of the government, is ready to provide all possible assistance. The organic farming concept will also be a major employment provider," said Subhasis Batabyal the Vice-Chairman of WBAIC.

The Banalata Resort has its own farm, vegetable garden, a huge lake (Jheel) and is equipped with all modern facilities. The dense forest surrounds the resort area making it an ideal place to look out for peace away from the din and bustle of the city and its fringes. Bishnupur, a major tourist destination of Bankura is only 14 km away.

The resort is a delight for gastronomers – both the non-vegetarians and the vegetarians. Apart from the conventional chicken and goat, meat of emu, turkey, rabbit and Karaknath chicken is readily available in the resort along with a plethora of items prepared from meat. Fresh water fishes such as Rohu, Katla, and Bata are cultivated in the large waterbody in the resort. Tourists can even try their hands at angling in the water body. Vegetables of all major types are cultivated inside the resort premises following organic method of farming. There is a large cow farm and fresh products such as curd, paneer, ghee and rasgulla available in the resort that is prepared from cow milk. Each cow gives nearly 15 kg of milk daily.

"We have been able to successfully cultivate Tulaipanji and Radhuni Pagol varieties of rice at Banalata. This has proved that these two varieties, that are cultivated in North Bengal, can also be produced in South Bengal where weather and soil conditions are different," Batabyal said.

Talking about the facilities of lodging, Kartick Dutta, the manager of the resort said there were a total of 70 rooms in the resort. The non-AC rooms are available from the range of Rs 500 to Rs 1000 only while the AC rooms starts from Rs 1500. There are suite rooms that are priced in the range of Rs 8,000 while mud houses, a major attraction in the resorts starts from Rs 3,000. The eight mud houses have a cool effect during summer and a hot effect in winter. The resort also encourages group booking with extensive banqueting facilities for meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions and weddings.

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