International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Kokan Krishi Vidhyapeeth (DBSKKV) of Dapoli in Ratnagiri district have joined hands to bring about Agricultural reforms and change patterns of farming in Palghar district of Maharashtra, considered to be a backward area of the state in Agricultural farming.
Dignitaries of ISKCON and DBSKKV university after signing the MoU at Govardhan Ecovillage
The effort made by the two organizations in this regard is to introduce new avenues for Adivasi farmers of Palghar district. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between ISKCON and DBSKKV today at Govardhan Eco Village located in Wada taluka, about 100 kms from Mumbai.
“The MoU entails partnership between the two sides for a period of five years where the agriculture knowhow and modern techniques of farming will be provided by DBSKKV to the beneficiaries of farming community in Palghar district, says Shri Braj Hari das from ISKCON.”
The MoU will bring about a dynamic change in the agriculture pattern and serve as revolutionary model in rural development and life of farmers in Palghar District. It will open many new avenues for the Adivasi farmers to improve their life standard, according to Dr. S. D. Sawant, (Vice Chancellor, DBSKKV, Dapoli).
The scientists from DBSKKV will develop new research projects on farms in Palghar and layout experiments in upcoming areas of agriculture. The MoU was signed by Dr. Sawant & Dr. P. M Haldankar of DBSKKV and Sri Braj Hari Das and Sri Sanat Kumar Das of ISKCON at Govardhan Eco Village in Wada taluka.
Tarun Nitai Das, Mohan Nimai Das, Braj Prem Das and many ISKCON Agricultural and Rural Development members and Adivasi progressive farmers have witnessed the signing of MoU today Sri Gauranga Das, Director, GEV, informed the gathering about the different activities by GEV in Palghar district. “These include treatment of sewage water and its reutilization for Agriculture, Goshala, yoga, eco-friendly environment of reuse, reduce and recycle projects,” he added.
Dr. Manik Gursal, Collector and District Magistrate, Palghar, in his address, said, “Currently in India it is important to prioritize agriculture since a major portion of India’s economy and livelihood of people depends on that. In order to improve the productivity of agriculture, it is very important to do research and come up with innovative means. It is wonderful that ISKCON and DBSKKV have come together and collaborate to help improve agriculture in the Palghar district of Maharashtra.”
Dr. P. M Haldankar (Director of Research, DBSKKV) said that the MoU entails work in different project such as organic farming of rice, cultivation of highly demanded medicinal plants, growing fruits, vegetables and flowers of new varieties, opening of seed bank, development of dairy products, extraction of perfume from flowers and cultivation of bamboo and small scale industries.
Meanwhile, ISKCON’s Govardhan Eco Village and Bhaktivedanta Hospital in collaboration with SEWA International, a US based (NGO) are undertaking to help the people in the Palghar District of Maharashtra to fight against the impending third wave of COVID pandemic. Palghar district suffers from malnutrition and starvation problems hence the third wave of COVID pandemic is expected to aggravate this problem further.
They have upgraded the Community health care centre located at Ambiste in Palghar district into a dedicated COVID Health Center. The centre was opened on July 14. The hospital has 2 ICU beds with ventilator support along with 13 oxygen beds. With its current infrastructure, the hospital is equipped to provide free treatment to COVID patients.
GEV, Bhaktivedanta Hospital and SEWA International also distribute free nutritious meals in the tribal villages of Palghar district and facilitate dignified cremation of the deceased persons. Seva International believes in the Dharmic principles of “Serving Humanity is Serving Divinity” and “Unity in Diversity”.
Radhanath Swami Maharaj, ISKCON Spiritual Leader said, “No matter how tall or wide a tree is, it started off a seed and so is our ISKCON Girgaum Chowpatty project “Govardhan Ecovillage” established in 2003 spreads in 100+ acres of land in Palghar started in a humble way and is now growing in its various initiatives and serving mankind.”
ISKCON’s Govardhan Ecovillage has been working for the uplift of approximately 78 tribal villages in the Palghar district through various interventions including farmers empowerment, women empowerment, skill development for tribal youths, rural education, health care, free food distribution, water resource development for drinking and irrigation. ISKCON Govardhan Ecovillage and Bhaktivedanta Hospital are working for the health care initiatives and have set up 5 primary health care centers in Hamrapur, Ambiste, Zadpoli, Dhuktan and Tarapur areas of Palghar.