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Narrowing the digital divide; the story of Pantiya village

Written by: Staff

Pantiya Village, Gujarat, July 23 (UNI) Children in this remote village have shown that they are no less capable than the city slicks in their knowledge of computers.

Even a six-year-old child in the primary co-ed school in the Pantiya village, with a population of just 600, can use the computer. The school, upto seventh standard, has a total of 127 students but only three teachers.

This correspondent, who visited the school, found the students highly disciplined and extremely talented. Their versatility was reflected in their paintings which adorned the walls of the school.

Pantiya, near Anjar (Kandla) houses 150 families owning land which has poor fertility due to salinity.

To make the desert land cultivable and for undertaking other developmental activities in this remote area, Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Ltd. (IFFCO) has adopted this and another village Sugaria of Anjar Block.

The public sector fertiliser cooperative major is part of the growing tribe of corporates who believe the profit alone cannot be the objective of a company, but they have an equal responsibility in developing the world around them.

''IFFCO is a success story of Corporate Social Responsibility,'' says Mr S Srinivasan, General Manager, Kandla Unit of IFFCO.

Village Sarpanch Karsanbhai is actively participating and overseeing the developmental works in Pantiya.

The uniqueness of the developmental experiment in Pantiya is that the entire labour for building the Community Hall and a 'Gau Shala' has been provided by the villagers free of cost. IFFCO, however, provided material worth over Rs 5 lakh.

The training of farm women on canning products like pickles, 'murabbas', squash and other agro products is provided by Mr M G Mehta, Vice Principal of the Co-Operative Rural Development Trust (CORDET).

The Trust has been floated by IFFCO for training villagers to make them earn sufficient income to become self dependent as well as undertaking development activity.

CORDET also imparts training in other fields like embroidery, tailoring and making of handicraft products.

It is also involved in the onerous task of organising training programmes, seminars, crop competitions, agricultural fairs and exhibition for farmers.

While the land for the Pantiya school was provided by the State Government, infrastructure facilities, including computers, were donated by IFFCO.

IFFCO contributes Rs 2 per tonne of its fertilisers production to the Trust for developmental activities.

The key objective of the CORDET is to provide an integrated development of the remote villages. CORDET undertakes demonstration of modern horticultural farming system by using advanced farm management technology in the desert soil. The total farm area of Pantiya is 74 hectares, out of which 31.40 hectare is under cultivation and 42.60 hectare area is still undeveloped land due to the rocky nature of the land.

CORDET distributes farm implements, biofertiliser, saplings of fruit plants, seeds of vegetables, IFFCO NPK, micronutrients, mango saplings to the farmers of Pantiya and Sugaria villages free of cost or at highly subsidised rate every year.

The part of the rocky land is developed by the Trust and growing wheat, groundnut, bajra, castor and arhar throughout the year.

The plantation work in most of the area in Phase-I and II has been completed.

As wind velocity is high in Kutch district, so, CORDET has planted wind break forestry on boundary of its adopted farm.

The farm has an orchard of 5,090 fruit plants of 11 varieties and 13,841 forest plants of 20 varieties at Pantiya Farm. The mango plants this year yielded more than 6000 kg of mango fruits (Kesar mango).


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