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Whispers apparently large mainly among farmers, intellectuals and social workers in the districts of eastern Bihar, Kosi and Seemanchal regions who have raised some pertinent questions just before the visit of President of India, Ram Nath Kovind who will unveil the third phase of Bihar’s agricultural road map at state headquarters on November 9.
“How the previous amount of rs 1.52 lakh crore allotted for the second phase of Bihar’s agricultural road map for the year 2012-2017 was utilized ? Is there been any change in agricultural scenarios in the state? Has there been any change in the lives of rural farmers as well as village people in terms of socio-economic aspects in Bihar?” are some pertinent questions that have started flouting on the lips of people in this region.
The first agriculture roadmap was released by the chief minister, Nitish Kumar in 2012 when he led an NDA government. The plan, costing about Rs 1.52 crore, was launched as the first step to pave the way for a rainbow revolution in the state in the next five years (2012-17).
Similarly , extension of second part to third part this agricultural road map at an estimated cost of Rs 1.54 lakh crore in next five years, (2017-22), would aim to enhance farmers’ income substantially by encouraging change in cropping pattern, boosting usage of technology to cut down on input cost, bettering coverage of irrigational network, promoting organic farming and arranging suitable markets and processing units for better return from the produce.
Sources said different components of the roadmap would be executed by 13 different departments, including water resources, animal husbandry and cooperative departments.
Officials concerned at Patna are busy to conduct high-level marathon meeting of officials of the departments concerned and the police headquarters to review the status of latest version of agriculture roadmap before the President’s visit.
Sources from agriculture department claimed that agricultural and vegetable production in the state increased substantially due to the rolling out of the roadmap in the last 10 years. But people here who mostly quite unware such developments among bureaucrats and policy makers, started raising doubts over their own assessments through the ground zero realities.
“The government could claim many things hypnotically but ground zero reality is something different here,” alleged Lallan Roy a progressive farmer at Rannuchawk village in Nathnagar block at Bhagalpur. “Fish supply from Andhra Pradesh to entire Bihar till records maximum while Rs 136387.37 crores had been spent in fishery as mentioned in the agricultural road map 2012-17. Bihar has sufficient rivers, ponds and water bodies but why Andhra fishes still has its monopoly in Bihar’s market?,” Roy raised the question.
President of Pragatishil Krishi Manch, a Munger based body of the progressive farmers, Kishore Jaiswal alleged that Bihar has been still lacking in one very important aspect like conservation of water along with technical modern farming. “Recurring draught has become a common phenomena at majority parts in Bihar so conservation of water is very much essential. Huge amounts were allotted ( Rs 27160 crore + Rs 11460 crore) in the budget of agriculture road map of second phase for water resources but no concreate result was come till the date,” he alleged.
While echoing Jaiswal, a senior faculty member at Bihar Agricultural University (BAU), Sabour on condition of anonymity said the varsity managed to developed many relevant items but the research works yet not properly reach to the agricultural fields in Bihar. “We have done many important things, many research works to boost agriculture and agricultural related works. But unless and until our practical works would not reach to the agricultural fields in the state, how could we assess revolution in agriculture?” he cordially accepted.
“We offer garlands to the ministers, leaders and bureaucrats. During the functions, flowers are required for decorating the dais etc but very unfortunately, Bengal still remains as the big supplier of flowers to Bihar. So how could we claim our progress even in horticulture?” was the cryptic comment of Dinesh Singh, a progressive farmer at Jamui.
Dilip Kumar, a social activist in Saharsa pointed out large scale migrations of rural folks from Kosi regions and other parts of Bihar in search of green pastures, indicating the actual scenarios of rural Bihar. “Come to our areas, you will found the crowd of rural folks waiting for trains or buses in agricultural season. The situation is almost the same in other parts in the state,” he pointed out.
A senior ranking official on condition of anonymity admitted the facts but claimed some radical changes that also taken place in Bihar during last 5-7 years. “You can’t except much all of sudden from the place like Bihar. But the point which is more important that the state government for the first time after the Independence has focus it’s priority on agriculture and its related issues,” he said.
“The government virtually managing every things on papers and this has widely left a negative impact on agricultural in Bihar. A few resourceful peasants are performing best in agricultural and the government has started claiming it as the achievement for Bihar. But in reality the situation remain the same for maximum farmers, there is no change at all for them till now!
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