In the 11 mandals of Padheru which is an ITDA (Integrated Tribal Development Agency) in Vishakhapatnam district, socio-economic conditions and livelihood opportunities are very poor. People in these areas are mostly backward and lack basic facilities for living and working. They have agriculture landholdings, but since these are in the forest area, they are uneven and covered by bushes making them unsuitable for cultivation. Land development work under MGNREGS is particularly helpful in converting unusable land into resourceful land as can be observed from the story of Padheru district.
At an estimated cost of Rs 18,223 lakh, 6441 land development works were taken up in the lands of 1,11,422 farmers. In three years’ time, their lands were leveled, bushes were cleared and boulders removed by spending Rs 10,208 lakh. The pathways to these lands were also cleared and developed. In the subsequent two years, 1250 similar land development works were taken up on the lands belonging to 14,817 farmers at an estimated cost of Rs 643 lakh; and 488 works in the lands of 8712 farmers at the cost of Rs. 843 lakh respectively.
After land levelling and clearnance, they were further developed to make them suitable for cultivation. Graded bunds were built around these lands wherever required to prevent erosion of soil during the rainy season. These bunds have also helped in storing the rain water which is used by the owners for cultivation.
Overall, 63 per cent of progress has been observed in the ITDA Padheru area after implementation of this MGNREGS project. The tribal farmers, who are the main beneficiaries are happy and for the first time, they are cultivating and reaping the benefits as their small landholdings are leveled and water for cultivation is provided through various MGNREGS interventions.