BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh government today rushed help to a farmer in chief minister's home district Sehore after a visual showing his minor daughters purportedly pulling a plough in place of oxen due to poverty went viral even as the authorities debunked the veracity of the visuals.
The state administration gave 42-year-old Sardar Barela of Bastanpur Pangari village in Sehore a hand-operated equipment for removing weeds from farming fields and took steps to get his elder daughter admitted to a government school, while firmly dismissing the visuals' veracity.
In a statement issued today, Sehore District Collector Tarun Kumar Pithode said the media "misunderstood" the photo of the girls working with a "Kulpa" (an equipment that resembles a plough) as that of the actual plough.
The collector said Barela's brothers have oxen with them and that he was using them for tilling the land. Based on the visuals, the reports had it that the poor farmer, unable to buy a pair of oxen, had been making his minor daughters pull the plough. "The farmer concerned in Basantpur Pangri village in Nasrullaganj tehsil was removing weeds with the help of a hand-operated 'Kulpa' from the midst of the already standing maize crop and was not tilling the land as was reported," it said referring to the photo.
As per the statement, the farmer had sown maize and urad on an "encroached" land of the Forest department where he was carrying out his agricultural work. "A plough cannot be used when the crop is standing and to clear the weeds grown up in between of the standing crops, a hand-operated Kulpa is used for removing them," it said.
Barela yesterday told PTI that he didn't have money to buy bulls and had been using his daughters for ploughing for the last two years.
"I have no option but to ask my daughters to pull the plough who have been doing it for the last two years," he said, adding that neither he had money to educate his daughters, nor was he able to reap the benefits of the welfare schemes of the state government.