Joda: Joda in Keonjhar district is a mineral-bearing area. As the soil is rocky and full of mineral gravels, farming here is a risky gamble. However, Ganga Munda, a tribal resident of ward no-6 under Joda municipality, has set an example for others by growing vegetables successfully despite the adverse soil condition. As a successful farmer, he has carved a name for himself in the locality. He has shown the way to others to take up farming on the soil by dint of sheer hard work. By producing vegetables, he has become self-sufficient while scores of fellow men are dependent on the mines for their livelihood. Ganga grows and sells brinjals, cabbage, cauliflowers, beans and tomatoes in the nearby market.
Talking about the soil condition of the Joda mining area, Niranjan Bohidar, president of the Joda Vikash Parishad, said that earlier about 90 per cent of the localites were eking out their earning by working in the mines. But the situation has changed in the last few years with ever growing use of machines, leaving the manual labourers redundant. Thousands of workers lost their jobs. While many are sitting idle, others are struggling to find jobs outside the state. In such changing situation, Ganga mustered the courage to try his hand in vegetable farming and became successful, he added.
Retired teacher Somanath Mohanty said that locals are not getting any work as all mining-related works are increasingly getting mechanised. “Due to rampant mining, environment is getting polluted and soil is losing its fertility. Despite all such odds, Ganga has established himself as a successful farmer with his steely will power and hard work,” he observed. Sumitra Munda, Ganga’s wife, said that they took up farming after failing to get any scope of manual labour. “We can carry our cultivation forward if we are provided with government assistance,” she noted.
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