All posts by Atikh Rashid

A journalist with a national English daily. Interested in cinema, humour and politics.

Making waves

A community radio service at Resode taluka of Maharashtra’s Washim disttrict is disseminating information on latest farming technologies.


Santosh Jadhav, 35, of Mothegaon village in Resode taluka would always spray pesticides thrice in his soyabean fields. But this time Jadhav changed the decades-old schedule, he has cut it down to just one spray following the advice of experts.

And he isn’t regretting taking the risk. With just one spray,the money spent on pesticides is saved and the growth of the crop has remained unaffected so far.

Likewise, Shyamrao Deshmukh of Tandalwadi village of the same taluka says he was inspired to grow tomatoes , a not-so-common crop in Vidarbha, after listening to the interview of a farmer. “I thought if he can do it in a similar soil and climate,then why can’t I? This season I grew tomatoes on two acres and and had a good yield.”

Both Jadhav and Deshmukh are avid listeners of a community radio service that was launched in June 2010 at Karda at Resode taluka of Washim in Maharashtra’s suicide-affected Vidarbha region.

The service, christened ‘Swaranant’,is disseminating information about latest farm technology and practices,and is run by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK).

“While we are making advances in agricultural research,its dissemination is comparatively laggard. We thought a radio station can help tide over this time gap,” aid S K Deshmukh, convener, KVK, Karda.

The infrastructure for the radio station,including transmitters,s tudio, antennas, came from the Rs 22 lakh grant that the KVK got from the agricultural department under ATMA (Agricultural Technology Management Agency) scheme. The station has recently been approached by NABARD for holding awareness programme for its Financial Inclusion Scheme.

Recently,the station has also signed a deal with the Hyderabad- based Nagarjuna Fertiliser Pvt Ltd for broadcasting its advertisements.

Majha Vavar Majha Shivar’ (My Farm,My Village), Shetachya Bandhavar (On the Farmgate), Pashudhan and Krishi Sandesh are among the 33 different programmes the station broadcasts in a week.

Majha Vavar Majha Shivar deals with the recent technologies or practices recommended by experts to increase productivity and lower cost of production. It also involves interviews with agricultural experts and innovative farmers.

Pashudhan, which deals with livestock management, is also popular. “Many farmers say they went for livestock rearing after they got information about government schemes on the radio,” said Deshmukh.

“As phone-in programmes are usually popular,we have one named ‘Jhalkiyan‘ where audience can request to replay a piece of the programme which they liked during the last week,” says A R Parvez,the station in charge.

At present, the service could be tuned at 90.4 MHz in about 100 villages that lie within the a radius of 20 km abound Karda.

In Pune District, Zilla parishad schools are losing 10,000 students a year

No amount of wooing students through free uniforms,food and textbooks seems to help Zilla Parishad-run schools as the number of students in ZP-run primary schools in the district has come down by 10,000 in one year.


NO amount of wooing students through free uniforms,food and textbooks seems to help Zilla Parishad (ZP)-run schools as the number of students in ZP-run primary schools in the district has come down by 10,000 in one year.

While parents and experts are blaming poor quality of education in ZP schools as compared to that in private schools,ZP education officer Dattatraya Shendkar says the decline in number of students is due to “fall in birth rate in recent years”.

According to official data available with ZP Education Department,in 2010-11,there were 3,613 ZP primary schools (from Classes I to VII) in the district that had 2,66,372 students on the roll.

This year (2011-12),while the number of schools have gone up by 112 to 3,725,the number of students has come down to 2,56,347. The most steep decline has been in Haveli,Bhor,Indapur,Junnar and Mulashi.

According Shendkar,the reason for the decline in the number of students is the changing population dynamics in the country. “The effforts that the government had been taking for population control has paid off. There is a fall in birth rate which is the the main reason for the decline in number of students in the ZP primary schools. I estimate that the number will keep going down (with the decrease in the birth rate),” said Shendkar who,at the same time admits that number of student getting admission in Class I is high (46.407 in 2011-12).

When asked if emergence of private primary schools,Marathi and English,in rural parts of the district could have played a role, Shendkar said they also could have played a minor role in the decline.

“There are hardly any private primary schools in the villages. There are few at the taluk headquarters but students from distant villages can’t go there and they depend on ZP schools,” said Shendkar. But according to educationist Ramesh Panase,it’s “ridiculous” to link the dwindling rate of students in ZP schools to birth rate.

The inclination of parents towards the private schools as opposed to government schools is a nationwide phenomenon and the major reason for this is parents’ perception that their child will not get good quality education in government schools as compared to private schools.

“Another reason is that parents are preferring English medium schools for their children as they want them to be fluent in the language and very few ZP schools offer English medium education,” said Panase.