With a vision to use innovation with indigenous knowledge to solve problems and evolve a new path for sustainable development, a three-day Innovation & Start-up Summit 2019 in Banda was recently organised. says Heera Lal, District Magistrate, Banda, Uttar Pradesh in conversation with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).
What are the main problems plaguing Banda and what efforts are you putting in to find solutions for them?
The main problems facing Banda are water crisis, Anna Pratha (free cattle grazing), and malnutrition. We have developed domestic customised solutions to tackle Anna Pratha. We have also involved the citizens in the campaign against this malpractice. At the same time, we have also constituted a special committee, to sensitise people against the free grazing of cattle. Now, after knowing about the nuisance of freely roaming animals, citizens are coming forward to pledge their support for the campaign.
There are some people, who are not ready to listen to us. We have decided to penalise them. Through this, we will be able to control this problem by 80 percent. In the next phase, we will be touring the entire area and cattle roaming freely will be captured by cattle catcher jeeps. We have also decided to give away these animals to those who are willing to take them.
How are you going to improve the water scarcity problem in the area?
We have more than 2,000 ponds in the district which have dried up. Now, all the ponds will be dug up under the supervision of a committee comprising of Gram Pradhan, Secretary and Lekhpal. They will be redeveloped according to the plans we have finalised. We are also looking forward for the beautification of the existing ponds. This area have a lot of wells but they have dried up over a course of time. To revive them, a lot of work needs to be done. We will create special drains around such wells which will be used to recharge them. There are also plans to revive hand pumps and piped water supply.
What initiatives have you taken to tackle the malnutrition problem?
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) consultant Garima Singh, who is working on the health initiatives of this district, has told us that during a survey done in 2016, more than 46 percent of children were found to be malnourished. They have also initiated a special project in Block Naraini. We want to initiate this project on a full scale for the entire district. Also, we have started nutrition programmes for the children.
What kind of people did you targetted for Innovation & Start-up Summit 2019, Banda?
We organised the summit for exchange of knowledge. Through this summit, we sought smart and innovative solutions for three major problems of Banda, Anna Pratha, Water Crisis and Malnutrition. We wanted people to know about the innovations we have done. At the same time, we also wanted to benefit from the great ideas across India which are changing the lives of citizens for the better. The focal theme of the summit was Innovation & Start UP for Budgetless Sustainable Development.
The economy of Banda district is based mainly on agriculture. The soil here is mostly fertile and inspite of many projects of irrigation, the uncertainty of irrigation and its dependence on rains has made this tract adopt mostly the traditional farming. This is one area where despite the Government’s push for hybrid seeds and commercial agriculture and despite several droughts and floods which affect the seeds most, the farmers have been able to save some of their traditional seeds. We need to convert agriculture into an agricultural industry and then only the residents here can reap its benefits. We are going to change the entire administration of the Government hospitals so that citiznes can benefit out of it.
“We have more than 2,000 ponds in the district which have dried up. Now, all the ponds will be dug up under the supervision of a committee comprising Gram Pradhan, Secretary and Lekhpal. These will be redeveloped according to the plans we have finalised.”
What are your plans to improve digital literacy?
People are digitally literate enough to operate WhatsApp and social networking sites. Our summit helped in spreading this digital literacy. With a vision to use innovation with indigenous knowledge to solve problems and evolve a new path for sustainable developments, we hosted a three-day Innovation & Start-up Summit 2019 in Banda.
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