70 people apply for roof-top farming project in Gaya
As part of Bihar government’s initiative to encourage roof-top farming in urban areas, horticulture department officials have begun work to identify 230 “suitable” roof tops for which applications have already been invited.
The key objective behind the initiative is to increase green cover in urban pockets of Bihar, apart from adding to the income of the urban population. As incentives, the state’s horticulture department is even offering 50 per cent subsidy on the entire cost of the roof top farming.
In the first leg of the ambitious project, it has decided to launch roof top farming in four districts of Gaya, Patna, Bhagalpur and Nalanda.
In Gaya, the process has already started. “We are getting an encouraging response. So far, 70 people have applied for rooftop farming in association with the horticulture department, which will provide them the know-how as well as seeds and other logistics for proper irrigation facilities,’’ assistant director at the horticulture department, Om Prakash Mishra, said.
Persons having not less than 300 square feet area on roof top would be eligible for the project, Mishra said.
As per estimates, the total cost for a single unit roof top farm of 300 square feet is Rs 50,000, of which the state government would share Rs 25,000. “The roof top farming would not only prove to be an additional income for urban people, but it would also ensure green cover across urban areas and maintain environmental balance against the onslaught of the global warming,’’ horticulture officials said.
Once selected, urban farmers would be provided adequate training. “We have also identified seeds and plants ideal for roof top farming. Initially, we have decided to grow vegetables and medicinal plants which would be further strengthened with ornamental plants to add to the beauty of the roof top farms,” Mishra said. During his recent visit to Gaya where more than 120 people died of heat wave this year, chief minister Nitish Kumar had held a review meeting here and stressed the need to ensure greenery across rural and urban areas.