Kisan Samruddhi Kendra: A one-stop solution which seeks to make farming hassle-free
On October 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated 600 farmers' centres which seek to provide agriculture-related solutions and make farming easier for the cultivators. Gaon Connection visited one such centre in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi to take stock of how this new initiative is being implemented. Details here.
Ankit Rathore 27 Oct 2022 1:46 PM GMT
Impressed by the variety of offerings at the recently inaugurated 'Kisan Samruddhi Kendra' [farmers' prosperity centre] situated on the outskirts of Varanasi, 30-year-old Utsav Upadhyay is relieved upon knowing that a lot of his time will be saved by availing the services offered here.
"Earlier, just to do basic tasks like getting information about fertilisers, crop diseases, agricultural equipment meant that I had to wander from one official to another which wasted a lot of time. Now, since this kendra provides all these services under one roof, it is a huge blessing for farmers like us," Upadhyay, a farmer hailing from the neighbouring district of Chandauli told Gaon Connection.
"I cultivate on 40 bighas [almost 10 hectares] of land. Such a centre will not only get me all the raw material and the machinery needed to cultivate but experts here will also counsel on farming techniques and challenges," the farmer from Gopalpur village said.
This solar-powered centre situated in Varanasi's Ram Nagar Industrial Area is one of 600 such centres inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the farmers in an virtual event at New Delhi-based Indian Agricultural Research Institute on October 17. Out of the 600 such centres across the country, 66 have been launched in Uttar Pradesh.
"It is not just a sale-purchase centre of fertilisers for the farmers, but this Kisan Samruddhi Kendra is a hub connecting with the farmers, responding to all their queries and helping them in every way," PM Modi said while releasing the 16th instalment of funds for farmers' welfare under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).
Control on black marketing of fertilisers
Meanwhile, when Gaon Connection contacted the incharge of the centre in Varanasi, it was learnt that one of the biggest objectives of these centres is to check the black marketing of fertilisers.
"As is seen in recent years, price stabilisation of fertilisers becomes challenging when the demand is high during the sowing seasons. Small traders and shopkeepers hoard these vital fertilisers and sell them at prices way higher than what the government has permitted. It is guaranteed that these centres will always sell fertilisers at the rate by the government irrespective of the demand," Rakesh Kumar, incharge of the centre told Gaon Connection.
The official also stated that the often uneducated and unaware farmers are not informed about their rights which limits their access to government services and benefits.
"The farmers are insured the moment they buy fertilisers. Upon any accident the farmers are entitled to receive Rs 4,000 per bag of fertiliser. They can avail a maximum of Rs 100,000 under this scheme. We here are happy to inform the cultivators about the perks and privileges which they usually miss out on," he added.
Soil testing, paperwork, agri-counselling — all under one roof
While interacting with farmers present at the centre, Gaon Connection talked to Rohit Singh, a 28-year-old farmer from Mirzapur to know more about what the cultivators find attractive about the centre.
"These days, farming without the use of technology is hardly sustainable as the market is very competitive. We depend a lot on agricultural machinery but don't have much knowledge about these things. Here, I saw officials informing farmers about different machines and techniques. This insight that we are receiving free of cost is priceless," he said.
"I never imagined that agricultural machinery could be bought at such discounted prices. The government is subsidising machines like seed drill. I used to buy this equipment for no less than Rs 63,000 but here it's available for Rs 31,500," the farmer added.
Gaon Connection also browsed through various counters at the centre which are dedicated to various aspects of problem solving for the farmers.
From assistance to avail farmers' welfare schemes to specialised testing of soil samples, counselling about fertilisers, seeds and pesticides, and helping farmers in getting the official documents needed for administrative purposes, the centre assures multifaceted assistance to farmers.
"Even personal work like getting an income certificate or a caste certificate which is frequently needed by illiterate farmers to avail government benefits are facilitated by the officials here at the centre," Adarsh Kumar, a 43-year-old farmer from Varanasi told Gaon Connection.
"There was no such centre in the area. Farmers like me are greatly relieved and hopeful of facing lesser hassles in farming than what we usually face," he added.
Meanwhile, the incharge of the centre in Varanasi also stated that there's a thrust towards promoting organic fertilisers.
"Almost 20 per cent of the fertilisers we have stocked are organic. We are trying to reduce the dependence on chemical fertilisers as much as practically possible," Kumar said.
"Also, we are planning to launch drones for the spraying of insecticides in the farmers' fields. This service will be provided to the farmers free of cost and reduce their exposure with harmful chemicals that are detrimental to their health," he added.
The incharge further informed that the footfall of farmers is considerable at the centre and farmers from neighbouring districts are also visiting the centre just to have a look at the facilities provided here. "Every day, more than 40 farmers visit the centre even when the centre is not fully functioning as of now. By this month's end, all the officials and employees will be available for the farmers to resolve their issues and demands," Kumar told Gaon Connection.