In a unique move, the state Panchayat and Rural Development department has chalked out an elaborate scheme to rehabilitate the lepers in Bankura.
After receiving treatment at Govindapur Leprosy Hospital, most of the lepers come to the Leper Colony as they are shunned by their families. They are forced to take up begging for their livelihood. This has been the practice for many years.
After coming to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the Panchayat and Rural Development department to find out ways and means to rehabilitate them.
Dibyendu Sarkar, commissioner of the department, said that under the scheme around 10,000 mango tree saplings had been planted of which 3,000 were Alphanso type.
The seed was brought from Maharastra.
Once the trees grow, the lepers will be able to earn their livelihood by selling mangoes. But till then, the land has been used for inter cropping.
This will help them to earn at present. Poultries have been set up set for under comprehensive development project.
“The steps will help the lepers to come back to the mainstream of life and slowly become self reliant,” he said.
It may be mentioned that the department has been able to create 12.09 crore person days under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
West Bengal takes the fourth position after Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
He said for first three months that was from April to June, 2015 time was spent to clear the backlog. The target is to create 22 crore 19 lakh person days by March. By end January it will come to over 14 crore and by March it will cross the target, senior officials felt.
The officials said that the Centre had lauded the state government’s effort to create asset.