“Look at them; every time, I switch on the water sprinkler, these kids appear from nowhere,” said Anjali Hembram, pointing at the children playing in her orchard. She loped after them, chiding them off the orchard.
Her husband Ajit Hembram said, “How things change, some 10 years back, we couldn’t afford to have two square meals a day from this land. It was all parched, we just did paddy in Kharif,” he said. “But now this land remains green throughout the year.” Now he grows paddy, cauliflower, brinjal, cowpea, gram and whatnot.
“Last year we got this drip and sprinkler with subsidy from Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) and this has made irrigating the crops much easier.” This recognition coming from Ajit Hembram is a big transformation, considering his vehement opposition to suggested practices, when he participated in agriculture training programs.
Anjali and Ajit Hembram are Santhal tribes from Hatinada village in Baghmundi administrative block of Purulia district in West Bengal. The Baghmundi block falls under the Jangal Mahal region which is one of the socio-economically backward regions of West Bengal.