State helps leprosy-struck families to pick up the pieces
The families with 93 members who had become professional beggars have given up the practice and are becoming economically independent. If a person is found to be suffering from leprosy, it becomes a social stigma and is very difficult to come out from. The disease brings down the self confidence and the person loses all hope, rebuilding their self confidence becomes very hard. How their lives got transformed is more interesting than any reel life story.
Gouripur, leprosy colony in Bankura, is now bubbling with economic activities like growing mangoes
of different varieties with the funds available under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Around 2200 mango saplings have been planted of which 1,320 belong to the Amrapali variety, 330 belongs to Mallika and another 550 to Alphanso. In addition to this 450 Nagpur mandarine orange saplings have also been planted.
The total area of the orchard would be around 100 bighas and the work has begun on another 50 bighas, amount sanctioned is Rs 12.59 lakh. The beneficiaries are growing vegetables which are consumed as well as sold to the market. It has been decided that the vegetables and egg will be supplied to three nearest schools selected by the Panchayat samity for mid day meal at a subsidized rate.
It has been estimated that in the initial years about Rs 9 lakh will be the estimation for a cultivating season assuming Rs 1 lakh per hectare as total area is of around 9 hectare. 1650 Amrapali and Mallika mango plants will produce around 115.5 metric tons per year which may earn Rs 23 lakh annually assuming Rs 20 per kg of mango. From 450 Alphanso mango trees, the fruits produced will be around 31.5 metric tons per year which may earn Rs 31.5 lakh annually once the trees get fully grown.
With the passage of time as the trees grow, the production will increase and automatically the income of the beneficiaries will go up which will help the Leprosy cured families to become self reliant.