Scheme named after Deendayal for village development announced

The Union science ministry on Friday announced a new scheme, named after BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhayay, for the social uplift and economic growth of 60 villages in Uttarakhand.

The announcement, made by the Science Minister Harsh Vardhan, comes days before the year-long celebration of the birth centenary of Upadhyay comes to an end.

Christened Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana, the Rs 6.3 crore project is meant for improving the lives of people in these villages that have been grouped into four clusters – Gaindikhata, Bazeera and Bhigun in Garhwal region and Kausani in Kumaon.

"I am announcing it as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyayji's birthday is approaching (Sept 25). The scheme has been approved by the government. I will inaugurate the programme sometimes in October or November," Vardhan said here.

The three-year programme will be implemented with support from the Uttarakhand State Council of Science and Technology and three non-governmental organisations — Gramodaya Network, Surabhi Foundation and Uttarakhand Utthan Parishad.

"We asked for Rs 5 crore, but the Department of Science and Technology, after its assessment, decided to sanction Rs 6.3 crore for the programme," said Mahesh Sharma, former chairman of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, who now heads the Gramodaya network.

The areas of scientific intervention include use solar dryers for post-harvest processing, extraction of apricot oil using cold-press technology, sustainable bee-keeping, mushroom cultivation and processing and value addition of local produce like milk, honey, mushroom, herbal tea, forest produce and medicinal crops.

"We have a number of rural technologies that could be used in these villages to ease people's life. For instance, we have a harness that could ease the difficulty of those carrying huge loads on their shoulders. We also have technology that can extract honey without breaking the hives," Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, Department of Science and Technology told DH.

The clusters are located at different altitudes of up to 3,000 m for identifying the appropriate technology suiting the elevation. The Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and Forest Research Institute will be partnering with the NGOs to implement the scheme.

"We would also like to revive the mountain springs through S&T interventions," said Ashutosh.

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