Saturday, July 24, 2021

Cops reshaping tribals’ agri future in Maoist-hit G’chiroli

Nagpur: Police have turned to agriculture and farm techniques to strike a rapport with the tribal population in Gadchiroli. In the backdrop of ebbing Maoist influence, police are now trying to empower the tribals through agriculture for bettering their economic condition, which has been in doldrums since the last 30 years due to rebel violence. 

A bunch of police personnel, with either family background of farming or education in agriculture, have started reshaping their department’s equation with the tribals. Launching a composite programme ‘Krishi Samridhhi Yojana’, police have started offering various agriculture-based benefits and services to the villagers since last year.

Apart from coordinating with the government’s agriculture department for various schemes, including discounted and free seeds and saplings, cops have started training and guiding the tribal population, encouraging them to replace their primitive farming techniques with modern methods and do away with over dependency on paddy crop.

Police have also gone to the extent of developing nurseries to train the villagers in farming techniques and giving them away free saplings. Constables, who are either trained or being guided by the officers having agricultural knowledge, are engaged in maintaining the nurseries and guide the locals visiting the place.

Sub-inspector Dhananjay Patil, posted at Perimili police outpost who hails from a farmer’s family in Sangli, had written a book in Marathi about easy farming techniques and used his own salary to print, publish and distribute it among the locals.

“During our gram bhets (village visits), I try to encourage the villagers to take up modern and scientific methods of farming instead of their traditional practices which is leading them nowhere,” said Patil, whose family owned substantial farmland in Meraj in Sangli. “The villagers are dependent only on one crop which, if fails, leaves them empty handed at the end of the cycle,” he said.

Patil said a successful experimentation last year to create a small farm of drumsticks and distribution of 3,000 saplings to villagers had paved way for a bigger one this year. Around 15,000 saplings were produced and distributed to 500 farmers (30 each). “We are also helping the locals engage in fisheries and extending every possible help to them. Our work with the locals over fishery is already on at Perimili,” he said.

SP Ankit Goyal said police is the nodal agency for distributing government schemes and benefits arising out of them. “Our Krishi Samriddhi Yojana is part of the bigger project ‘Dadalora yojana’ (single window system). We created our own nursery of drumsticks which is considered a superfood,” he said.

“A custard apple nursery at Yelchil and another one of papaya at Bamni in Sironcha is already under way from where we shall train the locals on how to grow these fruits and also distribute saplings and seeds,” he said.

DIG (Naxal range) Sandip Patil said the tribal population can themselves adjudge who is their real friend and who is misleading them. “If the Maoists are running a parallel government, how much help have they extended like police to empower the tribals and help them grow economically? From seeds to saplings and training to support, police are extending various helps to the local population to ensure their farming improves,” he said

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