Wednesday, 21 August 2019
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Rural jobs scheme gets a green touch in Bihar

Here's one place where the rural jobs scheme is scripting a green success story. Around 60,000 people in Bihar's Tirhut division are busy looking after 12 million plants and are being paid for it.

Patna, Dec 11 (IANS) Here's one place where the rural jobs scheme is scripting a green success story. Around 60,000 people in Bihar's Tirhut division are busy looking after 12 million plants and are being paid for it.

'More than 60,000 people, mostly the poorest of the poor, are looking after 1.2 crore plants every day in the Tirhut division comprising half a dozen districts and earning wages for it under the NREGA,' S.M. Raju, Tirhut division commissioner, told IANS on phone.

 

The NREGA is the central government's flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to provide jobs to the rural poor.

 

Raju is the man behind this successful experiment that began in August. He says he managed to engage a large number of people for planting fruit-bearing as well as other trees by linking it to their livelihood.

 

'I mobilised people by linking plantation with employment,' Raju said.

 

He said tree plantation was still going on in the division. 'Our target is to grow three crore plants in the area by March next year,' he said.

 

He is already working on a plan to plant bamboo along the 280-km long Gandak project embankment from Valmikinagar to Vaishali district. 'So far, more than 100,000 bamboo saplings have been planted in West Champaran district,' he said.

 

According to him, bamboo plantation is the best way to protect embankments during floods. Raju, who has studied agriculture, said there was no shortage of funds to go ahead with the plantation drive.

 

Impressed by Raju's work, the National Institute of Administrative Research, run under the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, has recommended that other states emulate the practice of massive plantation of fruit trees and bamboo under the NREGA.

 

The institute has decided to discuss the concept at a workshop to be held at Bhubaneswar, Orissa, in the first week of January.

 

A.S. Khullar, a professor of the institute, in a circular to the state government said families should be engaged as 'van-poshaks' (plant protectors) against wages paid under the NREGA.

 

'A researcher of the institute during his field visit found Raju's concept linking social forestry to the NREGA an effective way to check soil erosion and encourage agro-based industry,' said an official in the Bihar rural development department.

 

(Imran Khan can be contacted at imran.k@ians.in)

Rural jobs, Bihar, NREGA, Govt Job, Patna,

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