Bardibas’ pride project fails to take offVegetables planted in ‘Model Agro Village’ has started to dry up, leaving farmers in despair.
The farmland of the ‘Model Agro Village’, initiated by Bardibas Municipality as its pride project, is a far cry from success, with fields drying up for lack of irrigation facilities.
The local farmers blame the municipal authority for ignoring a problem that is making their life worse. To have launched the programme without proper management and preparation and to have asked the locals to be a part of the programme was a mistake on the authorities part, say locals.
“We planted vegetables in the model agro village expecting a good harvest. But the plants are gradually drying up and the municipality does not pay any heed to our problem,” said Ganga Devi Mahato, a local farmer. She blamed the people’s representatives and employees of ignoring the farmers’ grievances despite repeated requests.
The municipality launched the Mayor Agriculture Programme to turn 75 bighas of land into a ‘Model Agro Village’ at Ward No. 2 and 6 of the municipality as pride projects. The programme aims to teach around 46,000 farmers modern farming methods in order to transform subsistence agriculture into a commercial one. The first phase of the programme took off earlier this fiscal year.
Various vegetables like cauliflowers, cabbages, tomatoes, brinjals, chillies, spinach and coriander have been planted in around 10 katthas of land under the programme. According to the municipality, it has spent Rs 1.5 million on the project so far.
Kabiraj Uprety, chief executive officer, said that the municipality had released Rs 50 million budget last fiscal year and allocated Rs 90 million in the current fiscal year.
According to him, the municipality plans to set up cold stores, ponds for fishery, agriculture tools centre and soil test centre in the ‘Model Agro Village’. He, however, admits that the municipality did not do its homework and preparation before launching the project, which is why the project is struggling to take off.
Ganga Ram Mahato, one of the municipality employees, working with the ‘Model Agro Village’ project, said that the project is facing roadblocks because a deep boring well that was installed for irrigation purposes ran dry.
“The vegetables started drying up as the installed motor could not lift the underground water,” he said. “We have not thought about an alternative yet. The other water source is around 300 metres from the farmland,” he added. The local farmers express dissatisfaction of the municipality’s lack of vision and execution plan for something it calls its “priority project”.
“The vegetables planted under the model agro village programme dried and decayed in the farmland. That says a lot about this project,” said Santosh Kumar Singh, a local farmer.
Mayor Bidur Karki, however, pledged his commitment to make the ‘Model Agro Village’ campaign a success. “We will gradually solve the problems. All the farmers within the municipality will be able to reap benefits from the programme within three years,” said Karki.