ISRO adopts drought-hit village to help farmers

November 17, 2016 12:00 am | Updated December 02, 2016 04:01 pm IST - TUMAKURU:

Antrix Corporation Limited, the marketing arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has adopted the Brahmasandra village in the Sira taluk of Tumakuru district in an effort to improve the quality of life of farmers and prevent suicides caused by acute financial distress.

As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, Antrix will implement the endeavour with help from the Bharatia Agro-Industries Foundation, for which it has earmarked Rs. 3.81 crore over a period of five years.

Model village

Karnataka’s Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs, Animal Husbandry and Muzrai, T.B. Jayachandra told The Hindu : “As the highest number of farmers had committed suicide in the [Tumakuru] district’s Sira taluk over the past two years, a village in the Sira taluk was selected for the project to prevent farmers from committing suicide.”

The project seeks to improve agricultural productivity in the village with modern methods. The main objective of the programme is to create a sustainable model village with hi-tech skills, infrastructure, assets, support services and market linkages to make agriculture a profitable occupation. Among the goals is the intention to promote a vibrant village development committee for post-project sustainability.

There are 356 households in the village and the 1,420-strong population is engaged mainly in agriculture, with livestock farming being the subsidiary occupation.

Solving problems

Among the problems faced by the villagers is the scarcity of potable drinking water because water here contains high levels of fluoride; improper drainage, solid waste management and sanitation facilities; groundwater depletion due to erratic and uneven rainfall; lack of basic infrastructure like proper structures for the anganwadi and bus shelter; poor vegetative cover and low agricultural productivity; and the lack of good services, particularly in the livestock sector.

Director (CSR), Antrix Corporation Limited, ISRO, Bengaluru, Dr. B.K. Ranganath, who inaugurated the project in early November, told The Hindu : “We selected the perennial drought-hit village, Brahmasandra, to implement watershed development, tank rejuvenation and rainwater harvesting for drinking water, the construction of farm ponds to increase the groundwater table, and also to train farmers to use modern tools and advanced technology in agriculture.”

He added that Antrix will focus more on the construction of toilets to make the village open-defecation free, construct schools and anganwadis, and develop activities for women to increase their income.

Antrix hopes that the move will help prevent suicides in

Brahmasandra village of Tumakuru district

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