Agri-smart village pilot project yet to take off in Jharkhand

Under the project, smart villages, to be identified on recommendations of MLAs, and were deemed to have all modern farming facilities to help their natives substantially enhance their earnings

Agri Smart Village Jharkhand

Ranchi: The much talked-about project of set up around 100 agriculture smart villages in Jharkhand could not take off, even though it was approved a year ago and financial allotment for the same was made in the last year’s (2022-23FY) annual budget.

The pilot project, as approved last year by the state agriculture department, envisages identifying as many villages to be developed as smart agri villages on the recommendations of concerned Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs). Some of the MLAs had recommended names of villages to be developed as smart villages, while many were still not asked for it.

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As planned each smart villages is expected to get round the clock electricity supply. The power connection shall be distributed in such manner that each cultivable plot will have the power connection for irrigation. The villages are deemed to have well-equipped markets so that villagers needed not to go outside to sell their agriculture produces.

The state government was also supposed to provide modern irrigation facilities to ensure maximum utilisation of water and farmers were encouraged to plant fruits on the land not fit for cropping. The farmers in these villages were supposed to get modern agriculture tools to plough and irrigation. Farmers were to be incentivised for cattle rearing and do fishery and poultry farming.

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However, the legislators, cutting across the party lines, alleged that the agriculture department has not even prepared the action plan to execute the scheme on ground. Congress MLA Shilpi Neha Tirkey said, “If the department had nothing to do then why asked for the recommendation of the village. I went to the village and announced this. The villagers are waiting and as an MLA, my promise is proving false.”

Officials of the state agriculture directorate said that they had initially proposed to launch the scheme in 88 villages. Of these, there are 23 centrally sponsored and 65 state schemes. According to the condition of the concerned village, efforts will be made to implement all these schemes on the ground, so that it can become ideal for all the villages. All the concerned departments have to contribute their best in this. For this, coordination has to be established in various departments through the nodal officer.

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Agriculture minister Badal Patralekh said that the scheme will begin unfolding on the ground after the review of drought-like situation on August 15. The minister claimed that the roadmap is being prepared after getting the recommendations of the MLAs. “Nodal officers will be deputed soon. Agri Smart Village scheme is associated with many schemes. Many schemes are already running in the respective villages. Government land is not available in many places. This is causing trouble. But after removing all the problems, it will be brought to the ground,” said the minister.

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