In Ladakh, the flagship scheme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has emerged as a source of employment in the sparsely populated villages. The people are using this scheme for community asset creation.
On the occasion of 50 years of AIR Leh, correspondent files this report: –
People are not just taking the benefits of 100 days jobs for their livelihood but also using MGNREGA for creation of agriculture and horticulture assets in their villages. Among the admissible 27 sectors, land development has been one of the most preferred sectors for many Gram Sabha of the Union Territory.
Job Card holders of Saboo Panchayat in Leh block have now reclaimed land filled debris of the 2010 and 2015 floods. Reclaimed land is being used for cultivation of cash crops like peas and vegetables and traditional crops like wheat.
Similarly, in Phyang Panchayat as well, the MGNREGA job card holders have developed uncultivable plain land into an orchard. For the barren land development, additional water bodies for irrigation by channeling water from a nearby stream were created under MGNREGA. A 20 kanal area of orchard is developed with the support of horticulture department. Villagers have used artificial glaciers during the scarcity of water in the spring season for orchard.
Block Development Officer, Leh Tsering Angchuk says,”If we talk about Leh Block, there are seven Halqa Panchayats. MGNREGA is successfully implementing in every Panchayat of the block. Land Development, especially in Saboo, Phyang, Spithuk, Choglamsar and Halqa Farka, are going smoothly.”
In cold desert Changthang region also MGNREGA is making wonders. Job card holders who are pastoral farmers of Sato Kargyam Panchayat in Durbuk block on Indo – China Border, are taking the benefits of land development to beat the Climate Change. In the absence of snowfall pasture lands and animal rearing got affected. However, with MGNREGA support barren lands are being developed as agriculture fields for cultivation of crops like barley.