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Assam Agricultural University Trains School Dropouts

By Fr. Tarcisius T & Fr. Surjit K
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Dimapur, Sep. 27. From the 8 - 14 September, the Institution for Culture And Rural Development (I-CARD) was venue to a training programme assisted by the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat.  The programme was called Farmers Training on Efficient Water Management for Improved Agricultural Production Twenty eight professors from Assam Agricultural University took their turns from 10 a.m. to 4.30 pm on issues related to water and agriculture. The 100 participants were all school dropouts, actively engaged in agriculture related practices. They hailed from the remote villages of 8 districts in Assam and 3 districts in Arunachal Pradesh.
The inaugural function, at 10 am on 8 September, began with the lighting of the lamp, led by the chief guest, Dr. B.C. Bhowmik, the retired Director of Research AAU, Jorhat, followed by other dignitaries. Dr. R. K. Thakuria, the Chief Scientist, welcomed the participants and said that every year one billion liters of water is decreasing in the world. The Director of I-CARD, Fr. K.A Thomas, welcomed the dignitaries and all the other participants. He also thanked them for their availability and the enthusiasm with which they took up this programme for the benefit of the public. He was very appreciative of the dedication of the professors and their love for learning shown in their interactions with school dropouts. The Karsang Takar trainees and Takars of I-CARD presented a cultural show of Mising and Adi dances.  
The main coordinators of this seven-day training programme were Dr. B.K. Medhi, Senior Scientist, and Mrs. M. Devi, Research Associate, from AAU. On the first day Dr. Abhijit Sharma, Senior scientist, and Dr. R. K. Takuria, Chief Scientist, took classes about preparation of vermi compost and organic manure. On the 9th Dr. Kailyan Kumar Pathak spoke about rain water harvesting. Dr. Jadav Chandra Das took class on irrigation scheduling of field crops under adequate and limited water availability. Dr. Jayanta Deka took a session on the cultivation of potatoes. On the same day Dr. Pradeep Borkakoti highlighted on the effective utilization of fertilizer for increased productivity. The next day, the classes were handled by Dr. Jatin Choudury, Dr. Khogen Kurmi and Dr. Prodip Bora. They took lessons on farming for the up gradation of rural livelihood, and about natural resource management and preparation of green manure. On the 11th Dr. Pankaj Barua, Dr. Prashanta Kumar Pathak and Dr. Niloi Bora dealt with other topics like irrigation management and proper unitization of manure. Dr. Binoy Medhi, Dr. R.K. Saud and Dr. Prokhanta Mishra took classes about Vermi compost preparation and organic manure. Dr. R.P. Das, Dr. Umesh Chandra Kalita and Dr. Jugeswar Gowshami talked about water management for horticulture, and about varieties of paddy and their characteristics. On the last day Dr. Nikunja Dutta and Dr. Bhobesh Bhagowati took lessons on paddy and tomato cultivation.
The valedictory session started at 2 pm on 14 September.  The Chief Guest, G.N. Hazarika, Director of Research, AAU, and other dignitaries like Dr. H.C Bhatachariya, Director of Extension, Dr. R.K. Thakuria, Chief Scientist, Dr. B.K. Medhi, Senior Scientist and Course Co-ordinator of 'SWPA', Dr. P. Barua Senior Scientist, Dr. Abhijit Sharma, Senior Scientist, and Mrs. M. Devi, Research Associate, were all given a warm welcome by the participants. The programme included a Mising cultural dance and a song. Impressed by the Mising cultural dance, Dr. H. C. Bhatachariya, Director of extension, said that Mising tribe is very much connected with agriculture.  Mr. Rajen Perme, the Director of Karsang Takar, thanked the professors and said that the doors of I-CARD are always open for more interventions. The help given to I-CARD, he said, is help given to the poor public.
Fr. Surjit Kujur spoke on behalf of the Director of I-CARD, and thanked them for having conducted the SWPA programme. He quoted John Wesley who said, ''Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.'' The words of John Wesley, he said, have come true in the past seven days.  Mr. Nava Kumar Doley, youth coordinator of I-CARD, spoke of the benefits that the young farmers received because of the SWPA sessions.  Mrs. M. Devi, Research Associate, gave the vote of thanks. The Chief Guest Dr. G.N. Hazarika, Director of Research AAU, Jorhat, gave away the AAU certificates to all the participants.
Besides these sessions, the evenings were filled with relaxing games and more learning experiences, in true Don Bosco style. Other sessions on Leadership, personality development and related issues were taken by Fr. K.A. Thomas, Fr. Surjit Kujur, Mr. Praveen Topno and Mr. Nava Kumar Doley. While speaking to the youth Fr. Thomas related an incident from his life through which he gave three mantras for development workers. He said: only a man of spirituality can do social work; the community must become the fence around the social worker, and the social worker must inform the community of all that he/she is doing. During another intervention Fr. Thomas illustrated from the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Don Bosco saying that they started their work because they were touched by what they saw. Later on, these saints bound their followers to commit themselves by a spiritual testament. Thus spirituality became their foundation and their inner force. The evening sessions were assisted by Mr. Praveen of Bosco Institute, Fr. Surjit and Mr. Nava Kumar Doley.
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