Army buys Jharkhand farmer's watermelon harvest after his generous offer
A 25-year-old Jharkhand farmer, who had been unable to sell his produce amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was rewarded for his generous gesture. With no takers for his five tonnes of watermelon, Ranjan Kumar Mahto of Jharkhand's Bokaro district offered the produce to soldiers of the Sikh Regimental Centre (SRC). Instead of accepting the donation, SRC officers bought Mahto's entire produce at market price.
Mahto, a graduate from Ranchi University, had started farming after failing to get a job, PTI reported. He leased 25 acres of land for Rs. 5,000 per acre per year and started cultivating watermelons on six acres with an investment of Rs. 15 lakh. Unfortunately, Mahto could not find any buyers during the COVID-19 lockdown and his produce started to rot.
"Nobody in the village was ready to buy it even for Rs. 2 per kg. We sought help from various circles but to no avail," he told PTI, "Finally, I decided to offer the produce to our brave soldiers for free and approached the cantonment."
SRC officers were touched by Mahto's generous offer. The officers, including commandant Brigadier M Sri Kumar, then visited Mahto's farm in Kander village of the adjoining Bokaro district and bought the entire 5-tonne produce. They shipped the harvest to the SRC, located roughly 15 km away, in their own vehicles. The officers also left gifts, groceries, and food packets for laborers on Mahto's farm.
Brigadier M Sri Kumar—also the president of the Ramgarh Cantonment Board—told PTI, "It was heartening to see drip irrigation on 25 acres of land but unfortunately, the poor farmer could not sell the produce. We saw women workers, too." "We came to know that he had launched the venture two years ago but suffered losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Cyclone Yaas."