Horticulture programme under MGNREGA to create mandays

Berhampur: The Gajapati district administration has taken up a massive horticulture plantation drive under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) this year.

Aiming at generating about 1.5 lakh mandays under the centrally sponsored scheme, it would plant one lakh saplings including mango, lichi, orange and cashew in about 1100 ectare in all the seven blocks in the distict, official sources said.

The work was now in progress in 935 hectare after launch of the programme recently in 24 hectare when about 2400 mango trees were planted at Kholabada village under Gumma block.

"Since Gajapati is known as the horticulture district, we decided to take up massive plantation this year under the MGNREGA. We also found that people were interested in the programme," a senior official said.

"We expect that the economic condition of the people will improve through this," he said.

"We have selected beneficiaries from among SC and SC categories who are job card holders under MGNREGA and have land," said district horticulture officer Mihir Samantara.

The administration would provide the saplings free as also fertilizer and pesticides. Owners will bear the maintenance cost for the next two years and would get the yield from the fourth year as the plants are hybrid and early-yield varieties, a horticulturists said.