The western districts of West Bengal have always faced water scarcity. Various projects and schemes have been taken up time and again to provide adequate water supply to these areas through natural ways. Matirsrishti Scheme, launched by the honorable chief minister of Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, focuses on land development in these districts along with creating natural processes of water recharging to address prevalent water scarcity.
Sharing about the details of MatirSrishti Project, Pratul Kumar Bose, ADM Development, says, “The entire project is inspired by our Hon’ble CM and the project is taken up in nearly 20 blocks of Purulia, covering 2111acres of lands.”
“She has visited the five blocks of Junglemahal areas in Purulia and other districts. The entire team is working very hard and we are proud of this initiative,” adds IAS officer, Dr Akansha Bhaskar.
These areas are generally divided into four categories, – Tar, Bite, Kanali and Bohal. With frequent cutting down of trees leading to soil erosion, the tar lands have completely eroded.
“These fallow lands remained unutilized. In order to restart farming here, many projects have been taken up earlier. These include Water-shed Development Project in Purulia during 2002-03. But the scheme failed to continue in a sustained fashion due to poor follow procedure,” informs ADM Bose.
However, Matirsrishti Project stands out from the previous ones. Mentioning the distinctive points to The Optimist News, Bose adds, “Matirsrishti is a continuous comprehensive project with long term benefits, because it aims to paint the map of Purulia with blue and green. To accomplish this goal, our Hon’ble CM has planned workforce convergence of various governmental departments towards fruitful achievement of the scheme. From the Horticulture department to Fishery, from Agricultural and Farming to Irrigation department – workforce from all corners has been brought together for improving land and water conditions of these areas under this Prakalpa. Along with this, we have the Animal Resource department, Food Processing and Agricultural Marketing departments working together to support the project for fruitful utilization of Tar lands in Purulia. The SHG-Groups and FIG (Farmers Interest Groups) have already been registered for land development.”
Speaking about the improved livelihood of the residents of these areas, Bose shares, “The project hires people under MGNREGA Scheme for 100 days labour. Small trenches for water recharge are built and fruit orchards like mangoes are grown here. Recently, around 80 thousand seedlings of fruits have been given to the farmers from the Horticulture Department. The workers of MGNREGA Scheme also take part in excavation of Hapa and Farm ponds of 30-40 sizes, dug well for the purpose of irrigation with natural water recharge sources. This helps in pisciculture where fishes like singhi, magur and koi can be farmed. Labourers under NRGS also work for poultry sheds and intercropping of maize, turmeric and arhar (pulses). Finally, the Agricultural Marketing Department of the Government of West Bengal sells these organically produced fruits and vegetables through its 13-14 outlets.”
Increasing land development projects, aiming to utilize natural sources and replenishing the land resources has been a long-desired administrative goal. With comprehensive and systematic evaluation and proper follow up, Matirsrishti has the potential to yield long-term benefits.