When last year, during Amul’s plant inauguration Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that co-operative can reach out to where even government or industries cannot, he was not off the mark. Uttarakhand as we know it is likely to change if government sources are to be believed. An ambitious plan to rewrite the history of the state through improving the fortune of the people is on the anvil.
An integrated development model putting together all cooperatives in the state is in the works. The state govt has hired Synergy Consultant for the purpose which is busy preparing the Detailed Project Report.
NCDC is playing a major role in this even as surveys on an unheard of scale in each village and Panchayat of the state have been undertaken weighing up the strengths and weaknesses of each and every Primary Cooperative Society. Activities such as Goshthi, Sabha, meeting PACS officials, villagers and farmers are the order of the day.
This is a project that would indeed prove a game-changer and the idea has such a huge appeal that everybody from Union Minister Radha Mohan, the state CM, co-op dept and PACS officials are involved. They all feel this is either now or never, said an official connected closely with the project.
The project seeks to unify almost all the economic activities of the state into an effective whole. These activities are farming, dairy, weaving, tourism and what not. It is basically an effort to achieve economies of scale. However, such an effort may call for professional services like the ones Amul of Gujarat specializes in.
The integrated cooperative development model envisages converting PACS offices into tourist lodges by building 5-6 self-contained rooms on their first floor-an idea likely to make each PACS rich in cash in times to come. After all, Uttrakhand is known for its scenic beauty and the villagers need to exploit this potential. The latest tourist fad “immersion in nature” means tourists going into remote villages and providing tour operators with a lot of work, said officials.
You should visit Dehradun to have a firsthand knowledge and if you wish I can arrange for your interviews, said NCDC Deputy MD D N Thakur when this correspondent raised the topic before him.
Echoing most of the points said above Thakur said a state which had many ghost villages due to large scale migration for employment in the past would be hard to recognize in near future. “And the best thing is there is no dole or subsidy; loans are given along with expertise to multiply the returns from the economic activities. When farming becomes income generating why should one leave village, he asked.
Thakur even claimed that the budgetary fund of Rs 12-13 lakh crore spent on agriculture would no more be needed as a judicious expenditure of even Rs 2 lakh crore across the country would suffice. It is possible when we launch this cooperative farming where scale matters, he underlined.
There are requests coming from various state for launching this kind of integrated cooperative development projects. Some such requests have come from Assam, MP and even Bihar, said Thakur. In case of Uttrakhand the proposed project is slated to be launched from August this year.