A two-day programme was held by the department of science and technology and biotechnology on applications of geoinformatics in agriculture recently.
Several schemes initiated by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) have helped the rural people immensely and paved way to make them economically self-reliant.
RIDF loan worth Rs 108.68 crore for the resection work and precast cement concrete lining canal of the Midnapore Main Canal System has provided irrigation facilities for kharif crop cultivation in about 59,360 acres of land. The farmers who have benefited from this come from Kharagpur II, Debra, Narayangarh, Pingla and Panskura in West Midnapore. Under the scheme, roads have been improved which enabled the farmers to transport their farm produce to marketplaces without facing any difficulty.
The state Irrigation and Waterways department was the implementing agency. Another project implemented by the state Irrigation and Waterways department for the improvement of the 33 km canal system of Hinglow Dam in Birbhum district has benefited agricultural land owners in Khoyerasole, Dubrajpur and Illambazar blocks. RIDF loan worth Rs 49.80 crore to protect land erosion and water wastage during monsoon has helped the farmers.
This has helped to provide sufficient water throughout the year for agriculture purposes in the three blocks of Khoyerasole, Dubrajpur and Illambazar. Water from Hinglow Dam reservoir with a total capacity of 11,845 acres/feet is distributed through engineered channels to the three blocks. The work on the project started in December 2020 and was completed in March 2022. With the completion of the project, the long-standing problem being faced by the farmers has been sorted out. The two 10 MW groundmounted solar photovoltaic power plants in Dhaka village under Rajnagar block in Birbhum have helped people of remote areas.
The West Bengal Power Development Corporation has implemented the project. The electricity generated from the two plants is transmitted through the distribution grid to Rajnagar substation for distribution to remote and electricity-deprived villages of the state. Usha Ramesh, CGM, NABARD, West Bengal RO said in Bengal RIDF has resulted in the creation of 2,297 kms of rural roads, 24,053 metre of rural bridges and 9.16 lakh hectares of additional irrigation potential.
Mrs Ramesh said: “RIDF has enabled farmers to increase the area under cultivation by providing better irrigation facilities, higher price realization for their crops by access to storage infrastructure.” A senior official of the state Irrigation and Waterways department said the loan available under RIDF has helped to strengthen many local irrigation channels and this has helped the farmers immensely