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Turning a new leaf: Panchayats & Rural Development dept highlights feats in book

Kolkata: The Panchayats and Rural Development department has brought out a coffee table book titled "Transforming Land and Lives" on various projects under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme that has changed the backward regions of Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and West Midnapore in general and Onda block in Bankura in particular.
The schemes are likely to introduce more greenery in these districts. This is for the first time that such a book has been published which provides information along with photographs of the development that has taken place. Released at a function on Tuesday, the book will help those who want to know the kind of projects that have been taken up by the Panchayats and Rural Development department in the areas that are infamous for draughts. The scenario in these areas is fast changing. Bengal is moving towards improving the water table in areas of the Jangalmahal. Research scholars will also be benefitted by the book as it provides a direction and vision of the state government in developing the backward regions.
Bankura's economy is closely associated with climatic factors like rainfall pattern, relative humidity and temperature which affect the waterscape as land gets parched due to excessive heat. In due course, soil moisture is lost because of erratic rainfall and the water table depletes as there is little chance of water seeping in the backdrop of continuous runoff. A pilot project has been taken up to rejuvenate Berai river. There is a master plan on the table that aims to reverse the river that is almost drying up. There are 62 villages in the catchment area of the river. The income of the people dropped there and migration skyrocketed. Once the river is rejuvenated, the economic activities on the banks will go up bringing in major changes in the life of the locals. Ushar Mukti, a project of Panchayats and Rural development department, has brought major changes in Dunda village. Following the principles of watershed management, a mixed approach of orchard plantation, social forestry and farm ponds are transforming what used to be barren wastelands. The monocropping land is likely to be converted into multi-cropping. Brikshapatta is a unique scheme where rights over plants are given without corresponding rights over land. It is a written document specifying the plants and their varieties, rights and obligations of stakeholders. Rights include the right to participation in maintenance of the plants, mostly for three years in a row against specific wages per plant.
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