A mango hub, which was commissioned at Gobindapur village in Dhenkanal district in 2013, has been lying defunct for the last eight years, thanks to the apathy of the State government. The situation has forced hundreds of farmers in the district to resort to distress sale.
As per reports, considering the bumper production of mangoes in the district, the State Horticulture and Agriculture Department had come up with a mango hub and integrated pack house along National Highway 55 near Gobindapur village with an estimated expenditure of Rs 11 crore. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone of the project.
However, the ambitious project has been lying defunct for the last eight years. After functioning for only two years, the multipurpose project has been locked. As a result, machinery worth lakhs of rupees is picking up rust. Moreover, without proper maintenance, trees, and creepers have damaged the office and covered the premises.
Former Dhenkanal MLA, Naveen Nanda expressed his resentment over the indifferent attitude of the State government.
“It is quite unfortunate that the mango hub stopped functioning after 2015 due to lack of political will and indifferent attitude of the State government. The project has the required infrastructure. If it will be revived, distress sale of mangoes can be stopped in Dhenkanal,” said Nanda.
Farmers in the district are of the opinion that they are forced to resort to the distress sale of mangoes due to lack of marketing facilities.
“I have planted around 300 mango trees on three acres of land. Due to lack of proper marketing facilities, I am forced to sell mangoes at cheap prices thereby incurring huge losses. It is quite unfortunate that the mango hub stopped functioning just after two years. The revival of the mango hub will be of great help to the farmers in the district,” said Dasarathi Behera, a farmer.
Dhenkanal is a leading district in the State in mango production. Varieties of luscious mangoes are exported from Dhenkanal to different parts of the country and the State. Earlier, the mangoes were stored and packed in the mango hub and exported to Kolkata, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bangladesh, and other parts of the State. However, with the mango hub lying defunct for the last eight years, the marketing facility has been seriously hampered.
Responding to the resentment of farmers, Dhenkanal Collector Saroj Kumar Sethi said that steps will be taken soon for the revival of the project.
“Dhenkanal is famous for mango production. Varieties of mangoes are available here. Steps will be taken to extend cold storage and export facilities to the mango farmers in the district by reviving the mango hub,” said Sethi.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Arabinda K Padhee has also tweeted that the process has already started for the revival of the mango hub.
It remains to be seen when the mango hub in Dhenkanal will be revived.