The villages in northern Andhra Pradesh face hardships due to extreme summer temperatures, lack of shade on the roads and scarcity of water in irrigation tanks. The impacts are worse for the poor. Avenue plantation has emerged as one of the most preferred works under MGNREGA in the region. Fruit-bearing trees bring additional revenue to the beneficiaries who take care of the saplings. Increasingly, cattle dung and organic fertilizers are being used for the plants for healthier growth.
Peripi village in Cheepurupalli Mandal of Vizianagaram district decided to take up avenue plantation under MGNREGS along the 350 meters long road between Peripi and Itkarlapalli village. 600 saplings were planted on both sides of the road at an estimated cost of Rs 5,45,703/-. The total expenditure incurred through MGNREGS was Rs 1,43,153/- and it generated 1187 person-days. The MGNREGA workers were engaged in protecting and guarding the saplings from stray animals. They also watered the saplings, fertilized them and ensured their healthy growth and survival. The villagers now have a beautiful tree lined road and greater comfort for travelers.
Coconut plantation along the banks of four minor irrigation tanks and four avenues was taken up in Bhyrivanipet village of Srikakulam Mandal. 12 SC families and 1 ST family were paid for the saplings, plantation and watering and were guided and monitored regularly by the MGNREGS staff. The monthly income of these families has increased significantly and additional assured income ensured.
VOICES FROM THE FIELD:
“Earlier, my husband Yerrayya and I worked as agricultural labourers and were barely able to meet our financial needs. We had to borrow money at high rates of interest from a local agent of a micro finance company to meet our monthly family expenditure. I participated in the prestigious Pachatoranam project in our village and was made watch and ward person. My job was to keep a watch on the road-side plantation, water them, give organic manure and put protective fencing around them. For this I was paid Rs 3,000 a month. The coconut yield has further enhanced my income by Rs. 10,000 per month. Along with these, I also received MGNREGS wages and this has ensured an additional income for my family that meets the financial requirements of educating my children. My elder daughter has completed her MA and the younger one has completed Intermediate.”- Sabbi Neelaveni, Bhyrivanipeta village.
“I was a rickshaw puller, while my wife was an agricultural wage labourer. Our combined incomes were insufficient for family needs, and with old age it had become increasingly difficult for me to pull the rickshaw. During times of emergency, our only source was borrowing from finance companies or private lenders at high interest rates. I participated in the Pachatoranam programme where I was paid Rs 3,000/- a month to take care of the plants which was a great help. My wife also enrolled under the programme and received wages. Together we could clear our debts and get our daughter married without borrowing money from anyone. My second daughter is able to go school and has completed education till Class X. The coconut plants, which I am guarding, are growing and I am expecting monthly revenue of RS 10,000/- from the crop. This would totally change my family’s financial status. I am also respected in the village as I am no more a rickshaw puller. MGNREGS has transformed our lives.” – Konchada Durga Rao