Darrang: Villages in India are known to be governed by bodies commonly known as Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti or Zila Parishad. However, this village in Assam is known for having it’s own separate ministry.
Situated 45 kilometres from Guwahati and at a distance of about 27 kilometres from the nearest town of Mangaldai, in Assam’s Darrang district, Halda is probably the only village in the country that has its own ministry. With 16 departments, this village council has 26 ministers and deputies that include office bearers such as chief minister, agriculture minister, finance minister, etc.
The village first came to limelight on October 2, 2017, when the district administration acknowledged Halda as the cleanest village in Darrang district. The ministry was also formed on the same day when several residents were assigned roles and responsibilities to carry out the development initiatives.
The initiatives also caught the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spared no time in sharing the same on his Twitter profile. Lauding the efforts of the villagers, especially the womenfolk, prime minister wrote, “Our Nari Shakti is adding valuable momentum to Swachh Bharat Mission.”
The village also popular for its agricultural reforms. Farmers here have been practicing multi-cropping to make effective use of inputs such as soil, water, fertiliser etc. This has resulted in increased output with greater returns to the farmers.
“For the past three years, we have been cultivating potatoes without ploughing our fields, which has become quite popular. We have been able to cultivate up to 35 quintal of potatoes per bigha of land. We are also cultivating mustard alongside in a similar manner. Our focus has been on development through livelihood and technological reforms,” said Bhaskar Jyoti Das, chief minister of Halda.
Over the years, development initiatives and cleanliness drives have become a part of the daily routine of most locals. The village however is struggling to make it to the tourist hotspot list.