Thursday, June 20, 2024

Mawphu villagers labour to bring oranges to market


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Producers of best oranges in State suffer without road connectivity

By Lamphrang Nongspung

Villagers from Mawphu display their produce during the Orange festival in Sohra on Tuesday. (ST)

 SOHRA: Despite being famous for producing the best oranges in the State, Mawphu village which is around 15 to 20 Km from Sohra is still not yet connected by any road.

Even after 40 years of statehood the people of Mawphu still have to walk for more than four hours with heavy loads of oranges on their back to reach the nearest motorable road from the village from where they arrange for transportation to bring their oranges to the markets.

The villagers have been aspiring for a road for the past many years since it would help them to transport their orchard produces in a more efficient and quick manner.

But sadly none of the MLAs who have represented the constituency over the years have bothered to sanction a road which is a dream for the villagers.

Speaking on the difficulties faced by the people of Mawphu village, a resident of the village, Dinis Nongrud, said that the village has over 200 plus households who are totally dependent on the orchard farming for their livelihood.

“Due to the unavailability of a road, the villagers are really suffering since they have to walk many kilometers to transport the oranges. Infact, the profit we are making from the sale of what we produce is minimal since we have to spend a lot of money for transportation,” Nongrud said while speaking to The Shillong Times here on Tuesday.

Local porters are charging Rs 200 for each load of orange they carry which is really high, he said while adding that they have no other option but to pay the amount as demanded thus losing out on the profit.

Besides spending so much on transportation, the villagers also have to spend a lot of money for maintenance of the orchard to protect them from pests, the villager stated.

Another resident of the village, Tyllilang Nongrud, informed that the villagers do not use pesticides to kill the pests.

“We follow the traditional method of cleaning the orchard. We are against using any fertilizers in our orchard,” he said.

When asked if they are purchasing orange saplings from outside the State, Nongrud said that they do not need to purchase saplings since they are producing saplings on their own.

“Our saplings are unique to our place. It is because of this that the taste of our oranges is totally different in comparison to oranges produced in other parts of the State,” a resident of the village said, with a hint of pride.

When informed of the plight of the Mawphu farmers, a senior government official said that the Government is contemplating to construct a rope way which would help the people of Mawphu to transport their orchard produces.

“We are planning to rope in IIT, Rourkela to study the feasibility of this proposed rope way. We would want to implement the project on a PPP mode,” he added.

The official, however, informed that the Government would also be considering the economic viability of the ropeway.

“Unless it is economically viable we would not go ahead with the project,” he said.

For now it seems that the villagers of Mawphu have to continue to toil to produce and then transport their mouth-watering oranges to the fruit markets in the State.


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