Various projects taken up under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act like mango plantations covering an area of 1000 hectares and sharing of produce between the land owner, Gram Panchayat and Self Help Groups have changed the lifestyle of rural populace making them self reliant.
It may be recalled that West Bengal has been declared as the country’s best state and awarded for successfully launching the MGNREGA programmes. They are being launched by the Panchayat and Rural development department.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took personal interest to ensure that the living conditions of rural population are improved.
For better implementation of projects in the districts she began taking administrative meetings where senior officials like the chief and home secretary up to the rank of SDO and BDO were present.
This has created a major breakthrough in the smooth running of the projects as problems faced by the officials are sorted out in presence of the Chief Minister. The opposition had often criticised Banerjee for not taking up rural issues but they have been silenced after the real picture and statistics came to the fore.
Nearly 1000 hectare of mango plantation in three Western districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia has been started.
The backyard orchard cultivation in Bankura, particularly among the leper colonies has opened a new chapter in their lives. Many of the lepers who are fully cured are not taken back by their families due to social taboos.
The MGNREGA scheme has given them a ray of hope. Coconut Board activities in Nadia, South and North 24 Parganas and East Midnapore are effectively giving financial support to the rural people.
The plantation of medicinal plants in Darjeeling district is another eye opener. The Cinchona plantation which is used to produce drugs to combat Malaria had virtually stopped during the Left regime.
The distribution of shed net, green house for raising quality food saplings in convergence with National Health Mission (MHM) in Bankura, Murshidabad and Nadia have proved to be very effective.
The Integrated Watershed Management Programme will be implemented in treating watersheds covering thousands of hectares.
The work under MGNREGA has been appreciated by the Centre with the Ministry of Rural Development declaring West Bengal as the best state in the country for having a positive impact on the livelihood of the rural people through convergence in MGNREGA. The Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley handed over the award to Dibyendu Sarkar, a senior official of the Panchayat and Rural Development department. The development of Junglemahal is a classical example of convergence in MGNREGA.