Watershed-based initiatives launched by state in districts
Kolkata: The state Panchayat and Rural Development department has launched watershed-based initiatives for livelihood augmentation in several districts on August 27.
Udhar Mukti, a partnership initiative with Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF) and a group of Central Statistical Offices (CSO), has been in 54 blocks in Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, Paschim Midnapore and Paschim Burdwan for watershed-based initiatives in soil and moisture conservation, plantation and livelihood augmentation. The initiatives were launched in the presence of Dibyendu Sarkar, Commissioner, Panchayat and Rural Development department in Purulia on August 27.
It may be mentioned that the Panchayat and Rural Development department had taken up several schemes for watershed development for livelihood augmentation under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
A brick manufacturing factory from fly ash was inaugurated at Kashipur block by Dibyendu Sarkar. This unit is the biggest of its kind in the state so far. Built at an estimated cost of Rs 43 lakh, the brick kiln will be run by the Large Areas Multipurpose Society (LAMPS), an Adivasi cooperative. The kiln will manufacture 6,000 bricks per day.
Manufacturing bricks from fly ash has taken up the form of a movement due to the initiative of the Panchayat and Rural Development
department. Already 15 such kilns have been set up and of them, 10 have become functional.
Most of the fly ash brick kilns are run by women controlled Self Help Groups (SHG). The kilns are eco-friendly and the fly ash made bricks are stronger than conventional bricks. The manufacturing cost of each brick is anything between Rs 2 and Rs 2.50 and they are being sold at Rs 6.50 per piece. The cost of conventional bricks vary anything between Rs 8 and Rs 8.50 per piece.
Because of the scheme, several families have become economically self-reliant. Senior officials of the department said awareness of people about the quality and strength of fly ash-made bricks is required so that more and more people use this variety of bricks.