Khargone (Madhya Pradesh): Mukhyamantri Solar Pump Yojana has ushered hope of prosperity in lives of farmers of hilly tribal areas. The scheme was launched looking into the pathetic situation of farmers from Jhiranya, Bhagwanpura and Bhikangaon. Here despite having land to cultivate crop and water for irrigation, the farmers were dependent on a single crop for their livelihood due to shortage of power supply.
However, they did not lose hope and managed to generate power through diesel pumps which later turned out to be very expensive. To initiate farmers into multi-crop farming in such areas, a solar pump was provided to Pannalal Chhatar Singh Solanki, a farmer of Kotha Bujurg under ATMA Scheme in 2013. He soon gained recognition as the farmer cultivating crop with sunlight, thanks to media.
After initial success, the state government launched Mukhyamantri Solar Pump Yojana in 2017-18. Under the scheme solar pumps are made available at affordable rates by giving special grants to farmers.
Vegetables grown with solar pumps are often the talk of the town during the haat markets. Apart from traditional crops, one can also find strawberry crops in villages during winters as farmers have now become proficient with foreign crops. Strawberry cultivated here is sold in historical place like Maheshwar and Omkareshwar.
Parasram, a farmer who is a class VIII pass out and a resident of Old Bilwa, Bhagwanpura had earlier eased into waiting for long for power supply to cultivate a single crop. However, after installing a solar pump in his field, he not only cultivates jowar and bajra but also wheat, carrot, cotton and taro root. Parasram, like Pannalal, did not buy tractors with his improved earnings, but he is leading a prosperous life.
He is now able to afford treatment of his family members at private hospitals and support higher education of his younger brother. Not just him but many farmers like Pyaar Singh Ghasvadiyya of Kakoda, Sanjay Sikdar and Narasimha Buta of Kotha Bujurg, Richu of Pidi Jamli have gained financial stability with this scheme despite having power issues in their respective villages.
Solar pumps, introduced in the area through Pannalal, have proved to be a boon for many tribal farmers since 2017-18. The pumps with 1460 kilowatt power costing Rs10.65 crore have been installed in the fields of 535 tribal farmers in the district.
At present, farmers in hilly areas have gone through a revolutionary change and shifted from generating power with diesel pumps to alternative source of energy. The farmers have started cultivating market based crop and earn more profits at minimal investment.