Over 26 lakh fruit bearing trees planted in Jharkhand this fiscal

Ranchi/Raj Kumar: Over 26 lakh fruit bearing trees with a survival rate of 88 percent have been planted across Jharkhand in this ongoing 2020-21 fiscal year, state government announced on Friday. The move, undertaken under state’s flagship scheme—Birsa Harit Gram Yojna—saw plantation of fruit bearing sapling across 25695.3 acres of land involving 30,023 people as part of rural job scheme.

State rural development minister Alamgir Alam, who is also a Congress MLA from Pakur said that the scheme was launched last year by chief minister Hemant Soren as part of government’s efforts to diversify MNREGA works to reduce rural distress. “Through different convergence programmes, we managed to create more mandays to help poor and economically challenged people to earn livelihood and wade through the vagaries of joblessness triggered due to covid-19 induced lockdown,” he said.

An official statement issued by the state IPRD department on the status of Birsa Harit Gram Yojna further informed that under the scheme, mango, guava, lemon, jackfruit, thai berries, custard apples have been planted along with certain aromatic species of plants like lemon grass, and palmaros to create a long-term livelihood opportunity for the rural population in the state. “Prior to the launch of Birsa Harit Gram Yojna, in the years 2016-20, only 7741 beneficiaries could be benefitted from the plantation scheme,” it said. “The plantation drive mostly focuses on areas which are inhabited by the economically weaker population. Additionally, the government land and roadside barren spaces are also being covered under the plantation drives,” it added.

Officials added that besides creating rural jobs, the idea behind launching this scheme was to also on asset creation. For capacity building of beneficiaries under Birsa Harit Gram Yojana and MGNREGA, 45 state-level trainers, 800 block-level chief instructors, and 4840 horticulture friends at the panchayat/village level were trained for the purpose. “The training program is helping ensure a high survival rate of 88% for the plants. The standard of purchasing horticulture-related materials is being seriously monitored and only National Horticulture Board recognized nurseries have been enlisted for the purchase of quality saplings. The saplings are procured through tenders,” said an official.