From our Correspondent
MANGALDAI, February 8: Coming away from the traditiol social barriers with a lot of enthusiasm and high hope, a group of 16 rural women of village Chakiapara under Burhi gar Gaon Panchayat of Sipajhar LAC in Darrang district have set a glaring example of women empowerment by transforming an area of about 15 bighas of un-utilized farm land into a beautiful landscape of yellow carpet. The group of village women with hard labour has created an amazing landscape with a sea of yellow flowers blossoming on the grown-up plants of mustard oil seeds.
Sewali Kalita, Premalata Saharia Kalita, Subhadra Deka, Geeta Deka, Beauty Kalita, Rambha Deka, Madeswari Deka, Kavita Boro, Bharati Boro, Manisha Deka, Dulu Deka, rmada Deka, Damayati and Sangeeta Deka are the 16 women who formed Seuji Self-Help Group. Most of them are married and semi-educated, but there are few others who are unmarried and highly educated ranging in the age group of 25 years to 55 years. They are different in age, marital status or community but they are united in the aim to improve their weak economic status. They are highly hopeful to achieve a good harvest of 120 to 150 kilograms of oil seeds per bigha land and thereby earn around Rs 70,000.
“We are thinking of earning for ourselves and helping our families by sparing few hours from our day-to-day routine. However, we were uble to decide what to do with sizeable investment of money and time. But last November a team of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Darrang along with a group of students of Assam Agriculture University came to our area to create awareness on women empowerment and motivated us to produce mustard oil seeds on a plot of land which has been left unused following the harvest of Sali paddy. We have received high-yielding variety of seeds, pesticides apart from necessary technical guidance from Rinkumani Phukan and Md. Helim of Krishi Vigyan Kendra,” said Sewali Kalita, who is a graduate.
On being asked about the preparation of land for sowing of seeds, Beauty Kalita replied that the land was prepared with the help of hired private tractors for which each member shelled out Rs 1,000 while every member of the group took part in other works like spreading of cow dung, removal of weeds, protecting the field from cattle and birds. “However, the biggest threat came from the long persisting dry spell and no water supply with defunct local irrigation projects like Kalpani FIS and Niz Sarabari deep tube well,” added another group member, Premalata Saharia Kailta.
On the other hand, talking to The Sentinel, a young scientist of the KVK, Darrang, Rinkumani Phookan, who has been supervising the activities, pointed out that they had taken up the village for mustard oil seed production as a part of their programme of ‘Cluster Demonstration on Toria’ for the Rabi season 2016-17. “Toria is a kind plant which is very similar to that of mustard plant. However, it is very suited in the environment like that of our State with better production expectation. We have covered a total area of 20 hectares in as many as seven villages of the district. But the project in Chakiapara is a unique one because here only the village women have been involved aiming at equal economical empowerment as their male counterparts,” said the young agricultural scientist while expressing her satisfaction regarding the present growth and flowering of plants in Chakiapara village despite shortage of adequate rainfall and water supply.