Staff Reporter

Most of the beneficiaries are Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe farmers

Farmers in the district assigned nearly 6,985 acres

Up to 4.6 lakh job cards given under NREGP

Srikakulam: Indira Prabha, a wasteland development scheme of the State Government aimed at bringing all the dry and wastelands in the State under cultivation, is paying rich dividends to small and marginal farmers, said Joint Commissioner of Rural Development P. Venkata Rami Reddy.

During a chat with The Hindu in connection with his visit to the district, Mr. Venkata Rami Reddy said that small and marginal farmers in the State were immensely benefited by the Indira Prabha scheme. Farmers with land holdings up to five acres of land which were assigned under the programme were able to transform their barren lands into cultivable lands using sprinkler irrigation system. Most of the beneficiaries were Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe farmers who were assigned the lands .

The farmers in the district were assigned lands to the tune of 6,985 acres out of which 2300 acres of barren lands were brought under cultivation in the 2008-09. Most of the farmers were encouraged to go in for mango and cashew plantations. Under the National Horticulture Mission the farmers were given 100 per cent subsidy on farm loans. The Central Government extended 75 percent while the State Government 25 per cent subsidy. The loan enticed farmers to go for fruit plantations. About 2000 families were benefited by the scheme in the district.

Two major schemes

Up to 4.6 lakh job cards were given Under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme for undertaking works worth Rs. 430 crores in a phased manner under a 3 year plan period. So far Rs. 120 crores was spent on employment generation during the past couple of years. In the current year Rs.70 crores was spent for paying the wages of labourers in the villages where works werer under execution. By the end of 2008-09 Rs.150 crores would be invested on rural employment generation. In the current year so far 17,290 families were provided 100 days of work.

Under the RIDF programme rural infrastructure was being developed by construction of roads, bridges, culverts and other irrigation infrastructure. Under the RIDF-13 programme Rs.350 crores was being invested on infrastructure development in the state.