Bankura, the district considered one of the most backward in the country, has been chosen as the best in terms of overall project implementation and asset creation under the MGNREGA for 2018-19. The district administration has received a communication to this effect from the Ministry of Rural Development, senior district administration officials said.
The district was allocated MGNREGA budgetary support of Rs 1.24 crore during 2018- 19, which has already been elevated to Rs 1.49 crore for 2019-20. It had managed to create 1.56 crore man-days under MGNREGA during the period, with 52 per cent participation by the women labourers.
On 19 December, at C Subramanya Hall in New Delhi, the district will be conferred the award by Union Minister for Rural Development and Agriculture. Mr Rohit Kumar, the joint secretary, MGNREGA under the Ministry of Rural Development stated: “The district’s performance in MGNREGA project implementation was outstanding during the period.” While Bankura has topped the list among 61 participating districts. Cooch Behar, another West Bengal district, has secured the second position.
Recently two experts from Hyderabad inspected various MGNREGA schemes in Hirhbandh and Ranibandh blocks in Bankura. Also, senior officials of the Ministry of Rural Development had examined several projects. They had inspected Birbandh and Dhobakocha villages in Ranibandh.
At Birbandh, assets for cultivation have been created on 52 hectares of barren land. Also, 16,000 Sonajhuri and Segun trees have been planted there, besides 500 fruit trees. “We stressed more on water preservation as Bankura has remained a droughthit district since long. Farmers here face problems in getting irrigation water. So exploiting the MGNREGA schemes, several Micro Watershed projects have been implemented, mainly on barren land reserve, which helped the turnaround,’ said Dr Umashankar S, DM, Bankura. He added: “Also, an organic farming project at Akui village in Indas block drew their attention.” Mr Jibon Krishna Biswas, district nodal officer, MGNREGA in Bankura, told The Statesman: “We had secured average persondays of 75 during the period (2018-19) but due to certain restrictions imposed under MGNREGA, in the current fiscal year the average has slipped to 37. This, however, will increase as three more months are still there.”