GAURIPUR, Sept 10 - A section of farmers of villages like Madhusaulmari, Batartal, Bhelakoba, Khudimari, Chapgarh, South Raipur under Gauripur and Golakganj revenue circles have succeeded in bringing about a change in the economic scene of the area by cultivating arum plant (kachu) in their fields. The farmers instead of cultivating potato, egg plant, lady�s finger, pumpkin, bottle gourd etc., prefer to cultivate arum as the cost of farming it is very less but the profits are high.
There are many varieties of arums like ol kachu, kani kachu, kalia kachu, dahi kachu, pani kachu, chaimukhiya kachu, man kachu, shyama kachu etc., but the light black arum which is locally known as bala kachu is very profitable as its cultivation is very easy and requires very little effort in plantation and as such the farmers of the aforesaid villages plant bala kachu in a massive way and have been able to stand on their feet by earning a lot of money.
Ashok Ray, a progressive farmer of village Madhusaulmari Pt I planted arum plant in 1� bighas of land and he was able to earn more than Rs 35,000 rupees this year. Dhiren Ray, Biren Ray and Sanjit Ray three other farmers of the area also are seen harvesting a bumper crop this year. So also Deben Ray, another progressive farmer of village South Raipur made huge profits by cultivating arum in a bigha of his land.
High land and a land free from the accumulation of rain water is necessary for plantation of arum plant and therefore the farmers prefer such lands for plantation. The farmers plough their field and after removing the wild creepers, apply lime and cow dung on the field and after the land is ready, they plant the seedlings in a row in the month of November. They can easily plant 3000 saplings in one bigha of land. After a month or so, the farmers place meteka below the saplings like a carpet and they need not do anything more.
During the middle part of the month of April, the bala kachu becomes ready for plucking and by selling the vegetable, they can earn Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 per bigha.
Bala kachu is very tasty, specially when it is mixed with hilsa fish. One who has ever tasted this, will never forget its taste. Even the trunk of the arum can be used as a fried vegetable. Moreover, the extended roots of the arum are also used in making vegetables mixed with small fish. These types of vegetables are commonly used by the rural people of the area.
It is very regrettable that the farmers may have earned more income for their produce but for the fact that these arums are purchased by middlemen at very low prices and sell them in the areas or markets of North Bengal. Due to lack of government agencies, they have to surrender before the middlemen. Despite these obstacles, the farmers remain hopeful of a more brighter future.