Lucknow: At a time when lakhs of acres of standing wheat crop in Uttar Pradesh has been devastated due to unseasonal rains leaving farmers in throes of an unprecedented despair, the owner of a 24-bigha (six hectares) farm at the outskirts of this state capital is neither deterred nor perturbed by the vagaries of the inclement weather.
Thanks to advanced tractors, threshers and other equipment this ‘farmer’ has not only been able to save the crop from devastation by the rains and hail but has alaso managed to get a yield of 200 quintals of wheat from the land. The farmer is none other than mega film star Amitabh Bachchan who owns this land in Muzaffarnagar Palia (Chowdhrikheda) village.
Rajendra Kumar Singh, the ageing caretaker of the farm told IANS that the crop was not hit by the unseasonal rains as it had been cut at the right time and put into threshers and subsequently stocked well in advance.
“The crop was ready for cutting much before the March 15-16 rains and due to mechanized farming here work was made easy,” says Singh.
Villagers in the neigbouring fields too say that Big B’s farm uses highly-advanced techniques of growing crops and is well-managed.
The caretaker, however, says that due to the rains earlier, the crop yield has suffered “minor setback” and is down by 20 percent over the past year. The local ‘lekhpal’ (revenue officer), Nattha Ram, says while the area has witnessed 30-40 percent crop damage, Big B’s farmland has been spared and hence no compensation has been sought.
Big B got the farmer tag in 2010 when he bought the land in Muzzaffarnagar village of Kakori, 23 km from here for Rs.3.03 crore ($482,000). The Uttar Pradesh Seed Corporation then registered the iconic film actor as a farmer-member and provided him with a hybrid seed programme for his newly-acquired land.