Developmental activities gain momentum in insurgency free Tripura village

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Pitra (South Tripura), Dec.4 (ANI): Development-related activities have gained momentum in South Tripura's Pitra Village following the decline of insurgency.

The village is home to the Jamatia tribe and other non-tribals.

It was once a hotbed of militancy, but now, the villagers have taken to farming like ducks to water.

They have shifted their focus from 'Jhum' cultivation to regular farming.

Jhum or Jhoom cultivation is a local name for slash and burn agriculture practiced by the tribal groups in the north-eastern states like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, as also in districts of Bangladesh like Khagrachari and Sylhet.

This system involves clearing of a piece of land by setting fire or clear felling and using the area for growing crops of agricultural importance such as upland rice, vegetables or fruits. After a few cycles, the land loses fertility and a new area is chosen.

Most farmers make huts near their land for shelter.

Jhum cultivation is most practiced on the slopes of hills in thickly forested landscapes. The cultivators cut the treetops to allow sunlight to reach the land. They burn all the trees and grasses for clean and fresh soil; it is believed that this helps to fertilize the land, but can leave it vulnerable to erosion. Later seeds and crops are planted. Plants on the slopes survive the rainy season floods.

Now, the farmers are adopting newer farming techniques and using quality seeds to achieve better yields.

"We are farmers and agriculture is our main source of income. We have been witnessing development of the village but we still lack proper irrigation facilities. If the government helps us to solve this problem, we will prosper. We have good road connectivity and there is proper storage facility for our harvest," said Balaram Das, a farmer.

Manjudebi Jamatia is a housewife weaves cloths on the loom and sells them to earn some extra money.

"I make different types of cloths on my loom that are used by the tribal women. This is an additional source of income for my family and helps in running it smoothly," she said.

Various centrally sponsored schemes have been implemented in the village.

Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, villagers have got work and rural infrastructure has improved.

Better road connectivity has made the commute to other places and transportation of products easier for villagers.

"We are getting employment under the MNREGA Scheme and village infrastructure is improving including the roads. We are facing water scarcity and want access to potable water," said Khidirai Jamatia, a local resident.

The decline in insurgency now allows children to attend regular classes.

The government is encouraging every child to attend classes by providing facilities like mid-day meal, free books and stationary.

With the implementation of centrally sponsored 'Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan' Scheme, the school infrastructure too has improved.

Currently, there are nearly 600 students in the school.

"We have facilities and grants for children belonging to minorities. The students are benefited due to this and their presence is gradually increasing. We are witnessing improvement in the result of class X and XII board examination," said Tapan Bhattacharja, a teacher.

"We get a stipend from the government. There is free meal facility in our school and we also get books from the government. All this has encouraged us to study and hope I can do well here," said Nazrul Islam, a student.

Pitra village shows a glimpse of what the future holds for the northeast. (ANI)

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