Official from center visits Rajouri to look into farmers problems

Official from center visits Rajouri to look into farmers problemsPrime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan is being touted as the biggest-ever exercise since Independence to give a fillip to agriculture in the country, but the question is whether it will benefit people or meet the fate of previous schemes and programmes.
People of Rajouri district don’t have high hopes from the campaign as they see it as yet another government exercise.
They believe whatever funds will be released from the Centre will flow through the system in place for decades.
A Central government representative was on a three-day tour to Rajouri last month to talk to farmers and know about their problems.
The Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday Abhiyan was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh and culminated on April 24 when he addressed a maha panchayat in Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. Each panchayat of the country was involved through a live telecast.
The Union Government chose Rajouri and sent its representative to know the problems relating to agriculture and other day-to-day issues.
Mukul Ratra, Director, Department of Personal and Training, Government of India, held discussion with farmers and locals in several villages of the district.
During his tour, he noted down the problems of people but he did not have any on-time solution for the people, which was a setback for locals.
Rajouri is one of the worst sufferers of insurgency in the state. As the Line of Control passes through it, people become easy targets of Pakistani shelling and firing.
The terrain of the district is mostly hilly with a handful of villages situated on the Jammu-Poonch highway. Though the area is dominated by Muslims, non-Muslims are in a majority in the Nowshera and Kalakote Assembly constituencies.
The district is facing many agriculture-related issues as many areas are dependent on rain and many others do not have proper irrigation facilities.
Another problem is that farmers are not aware about their soil type and which crop to cultivate in their land.
Our reporter had travelled along with the Central government representative to various villages of the district to know the reality of the claims of locals and how their problems were being addressed.
Locals here face a number of problems. These include shortage of drinking water, lack of soil testing facility, scarcity of water for irrigation and crop damage due to hailstorm. Some other problems are that the people of the district who are entitled to pension under various schemes are not receiving it on time and most of the people do not know whom to approach to avail of the benefits of Central schemes.
Sarpanch of the Sarana bridge panchayat Mir Ahmed said their area was rainfed. He said the biggest problem was that the soil was not being tested.
“We want a soil testing facility and measures to help us improve our farming,” Mir said.
The government exercise this time was a little different as people were asked about their problems and what they knew about Central schemes. No ideas were, however, imposed on them as in the past.
“We want results. It is not that the government is unaware of our problems. The issue is the problems are not being addressed on time,” said Nirmala Devi, a resident of Siot village of Sunderbani.
People here say things may be changing at the top level with the PM making a policy to develop villages, but the system at the grass-roots level is not properly equipped to implement welfare schemes for people.
“There is corruption in the system. Even for money under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, officials are demanding commission. Same is the case with other departments,” claimed Joginder Singh, sarpanch of the Savni panchayat.
The Director, Department of Personal and Training, Mukul Ratra, said his task was to talk, observe and report the problems being faced by the people to the Union Government.
“I have nothing to offer to the people as the policy has to be made by the people at the helm of affairs. The Prime Minister wants things done on a fast-track basis and this is why within hours of launching this campaign, we were told to reach out to people and file a report,” said Ratra.