Himachal Wants Jobs Protecting Farms, Crops, Included In Employment Guarantee Scheme

Shimla: Faced with a problem of protecting farm lands from stray and wild animals, the Himachal Vidhan Sabha today debated the issue through a private members bill which proposed that jobs created under national rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGS) include man hours spent on protecting crops.

With chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal assuring the house that he would personally discuss the issue with Raghuvansh Prasad, union minister for rural development, Mohinder Singh (BJP) later withdrew the resolution.

Moving the bill, Mohinder Singh said that the problem of stray and wild animals was wrecking havoc with farm economies as farmers were abandoning cultivating fertile lands because they were unable to protect crops. He said that the national rural employment guarantee scheme which was to be implemented in the entire state from April could help to engage people who could be employed for protecting crops and farm lands. Presently the scheme has no provision for such kind of jobs and the house could adopt the resolution to impress up the central government for including these kind of jobs under the scheme, said Mohinder Singh.

Responding to the debate, chief minister Dhumal said that the need for growth in agriculture sector, both for raising national income and as a employment provider, was being debated at national and state level.

He acknowledged that the state was facing a problem of animals, stray and wild, attacking crops and rendering productive lands fallow. Killing of monkey infringed upon religious sentiments and the government was experimenting with trying to contain them in primate parks by providing enough food for them.

The chief minister said jobs of protecting farm lands from wild and stray animals was were not included under the categories of employment avenues created under NREGS. A measure for quantifying the work undertaken under such jobs needs to evolved, he said.

However, he assured the house that he would take up the matter with the union ministry of rural development and try to get in included in the scheme, said Dhumal.

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