GAURIPUR, Oct 8 - The people of Chapgarh, a big revenue village situated 7 km away to the north-east of Gauripur town, have been able to stand on their own feet by cultivating eggplants (brinjals, scientific name Solanum melongena) in a big way.
For this cultivation, the farmers initially select land that is high and free of stagnant water. After ploughing the fields with tractors, they carefully remove all creepers and prepare the fields for planting eggplants. Though cowdung is usually applied, some of the farmers do use chemical fertilisers to get more produce. Eggplant saplings are then planted in rows in the later part of the month of July. About 5,000 saplings can easily be planted in one bigha of land. After nearly two months, the saplings begin to flower and the eggplants become ready for plucking in the second half of October.
The quality of the eggplants of Chapgarh is famous all over Dhubri district and has made a name for itself for its taste. Bimal Chandra Ray, a progressive cultivator, planted eggplant saplings in three bighas of land this year. He told this correspondent that the expenditure per bigha stands at Rs 7,000 and the yield is Rs 40,000 per bigha. Amal Chandra Ray, Harish Ray, Nur Muhammad, Omar Farooque and Abdul Khaleque of the village have also planted eggplants in one or two bighas and are expecting high yields as the weather is favourable this year. They expressed the hope that this year their income may be double of what they had earned last year.
However, the farmers are unhappy about the fact that no help has been forthcoming from the Agriculture department in their efforts. Bad communication, lack of cold storage facilities, and presence of middlemen in the markets also prevent them from making better profits.
It may be mentioned that the Gadadhar river flows along the northern side of the village, which is surrounded by two beels � Bhojpuri and Madhurkuti. Most of the inhabitants are either Rajbongshis or Muslims and these two communities live together peacefully and are into the cultivation of eggplants instead of paddy.