Bankura: State ropes in private players for revival of idle govt assets in horticulture farm

kolkata: The state Food Processing Industries & Horticulture (FPI&H) department for the first time has partnered with the private sector for successful revival of idle government assets at its Barjora Horticulture Development

and Research Farm in Bankura for advance production of planting material project.

"The model not only seeks to save public expenditure without compromising on service delivery, but also aims at revenue generation for the government," Subrata Saha, state FPI&H minister said.

A senior official of the department said they had to engage labourers by spending a substantial amount of

funds every year for creating grafted saplings for fruits like mango, lime, guava, mosambi etc. But, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic situation, non availability of funds posed a major challenge and made the department adopt an alternative mode to create planting materials for horticulture.

"We realised that it required a completely non-traditional approach, where private enterprise and ingenuity would be given a free hand to exploit the resources.

The Barjora farm was selected with the department roping in a reputed private partner through a rigorous competitive bidding process to operate, maintain and run commercial production of saplings in the farm under

the technical guidance of the Horticulture Directorate," the official said, reiterating that the land right, however, was strictly with the government.

The Barjora farm situated on 53 acres was lying neglected for the past two decades with its immense potential lying untapped.

It lay as a barren expanse, teeming with weeds, infested with vermin even as large swathes around its borders

got continuously eroded by incursions by the local populace.

Shrubs, creepers and weeds have now been cleared from an area of 40 acres.

The building, which was in poor condition, had been renovated to a handsome facility.

Roads and pathways have been cleared and tourists visiting Bankura now drop in here.

Five well-furnished rooms in the training centre have come up facilitating visitors to spend a weekend in the farm.

A nice walk takes the visitors to a picturesque spot by the Damodar, where one can enjoy plenty of fresh air.

It has emerged as a production centre-cum-training facility and a regular site for holding of meetings, seminars and workshops by the Bankura district administration and other departments.

There are eight horticulture farms across the state spanned over a reasonably high area, of which six are directly under the department and two under the West Bengal Food Processing and Horticulture Development Corporation.

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