ROURKELA: The farmers of Sundargarh district continue to be deprived of scientific approach and modern technology for farming as Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK)-II and Agro Polytechnic Centre (APC) have failed to come up on one campus at Rourkela due to court cases and tribal protest for the last 19 months.
The KVK-II or Agriculture Technology Park (ATP) is envisaged to act as a single window system for transfer of agriculture technologies to farmers and help boost the rural economy with holistic and scientific approach to farming.
Sanctioned in 2011 and funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) is responsible for setting up the KVK-II. The OUAT has also plan to set up a 20-seat APC to offer diploma courses in agriculture.
Sources said after delay of five years, Sundargarh district administration had transferred 50 acres of land to OUAT at Bankia near Omfed Dairy Plant here in 2015. These 50 acres were part of 79 acres of unused land surrendered by the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) to the administration.
Later, members of the Sundargarh Zilla Adivasi Mulwasi Bachao Manch (SZAMBM) led by Birmitrapur MLA George Tirkey protested the move. They maintained that the RSP had wrongfully acquired the tribal land several decades ago and the surrendered land should be returned to the original tribal owners. However, amid police protection, about 90 per cent of boundary wall erection works was done at a cost of `1.35 crore and the APC building of `9 lakh could reach foundation level. But, seven to eight tribal petitioners moved the Orissa High Court and managed to obtain a stay order to stop work since April 23, 2016.
Rourkela Tehsildar BR Rath said there is no development in the case and refused to comment further saying OUAT is pursuing the case. Sources said the OUAT has been slow in its approach and a petition to vacate the stay order is pending in the court. Incidentally, the KVK-II continues to run from its temporary centre near the Hockey Square.
Refusing to talk on the court litigation, Senior Scientist and Head of KVK-II JK Pati said agriculture training, workshop, demonstration and on-farm research activities are carried out at villages. He admitted that campus activities are hugely affected in absence of infrastructure, demonstration units, crop cafeteria, orchards and farmers could not be given required exposure.