Kolkata, Feb 20: The Matir Katha web portal, introduced in August 2017, is proving to be a big help for farmers. In one year, that is, 2018, a huge 1.6 lakh queries from farmers were answered through the portal.
For the convenience of farmers, the entire website is in Bengali. The State Government has a designated set of officers who are experts in various aspects of agriculture.
They can be reached through email, the addresses being given on the portal, or through the toll-free number, 18001031100, from Monday to Saturday, for 12 hours each day, that is, 7am to 7pm. This information is also given on the portal.
Now, for the many farmers who are not in a position to send email or call up, the government has designated 700 people as ‘krishi sahayaks’, or farmers’ assistants, across the 341 blocks of the State, and armed them with tabs. These people get in touch with farmers and upload their queries on the website immediately for the experts to answer, which is conveyed back to the farmers.
They even upload pictures if required, taken through the camera of the tab, and upload them.
For example, for queries related to seeds, fertilisers and insecticides, pictures are uploaded, which the experts see and then convey their views. Thus these krishi sahayaks act as the intermediary between the farmer and the portal, and by extension, the government.
Hence, the State Government is using the system of e-governance to solve the problems of farmers, and has set up a system where a farmer need not be computer-literate to get his or her answer through the system.