MANGALDAI: Nazmul Hoque of village Silbori adjacent to Orang National Park in Darrang district is a driver of a passenger bus. He has 27 years of experience in driving night super bus from Guwahati to Silchar and Aizawl in Mizoram. He has also four years experience of driving national permit trucks with his station in Mumbai to various destinations within the country. Presently, he has been driving a passenger bus daily from Silbori to Moirabari in Nagaon district via Tezpur. There seems nothing exceptional about him. But this humble bus driver Nazmul Hoque has turned into a progressive agri-preneur. In the last four years, Nazmul Hoque started the cultivation of different varieties of high quality watermelons in a plot of 42 bighas of paternal land on the western bank of River Ghiladhari.
"I started my career as a driver in the rough and hilly terrain of Guwahati-Shillong-Silchar road but I stopped driving in this route on seeing the unfortunate death of three drivers in tragic road accidents. I started driving national permit trucks from Mumbai to other destinations for four years. Finally, I returned to my hometown. I again started driving and this time I drove a daily passenger bus from Silbori to Moirabari via Tezpur for which I was busy from 7 am to 5 pm every day. One fine morning, an idea came to my mind. I decided to utilize my paternal land and four years back I started the cultivation of watermelons," said Nazmul Hoque.
"As I am unable to spare my time for the watermelon cultivation, I have engaged one of my cousins assisted by 25 wage earners. But I spent three hours daily in the evening after my arrival. This year I have made an investment of about Rs. 4.5 lakh and I am hopeful to get a return of around Rs. 7 lakh," he added.
Besides, buyers from Kharupetia, Dimapur in Nagaland, Guwahati, Silchar and Tinsukia also came to purchase the watermelons from his field. Significantly, he has never approached any bank for loan. "Applying for a bank loan will be nothing but a waste of my precious time," said Nazmul Hoque.