Pankaj Chetri’s story reads somewhat like the ‘Panchatantra’ tale, the Brahmin’s dream in which a Brahmin beggar got a pot of flour and went on dreaming of how he could increase his assets one after the other till he breaks the pot with a stick and that is the end of his dream.
Unlike the Brahmin, however, Pankaj, has not built castles in the air.
All of 29 years, he is today set to lead a white revolution in the Elengmara area of Jorhat district.
Having given up a job at IDBI, Pankaj decided to take up dairy farming in 2014.
“At that time I came in contact with veterinarian Subodh Singh of the State Veterinary and Animal Husbandry department, who was posted at Lichubari here,” Chetri said.
Under veterinarian Subodh Singh’s guidance, he acquired three Holstein Friesian cows from the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal in Haryana.
After three months, he acquired three more and then three Jersey cows.
Today, he owns 15 cows and 10 heifers.
Having integrated his farm with growing organic vegetables, fruits and flowers, Pankaj has not looked back on his decision to take to farming.
He has also bought a milking machine from Gujarat which has to be run with a generator most of the time because of erratic power and low voltage, increasing the cost of production.
The 200 odd litres of milk, he sells at three places – the Assam Agricultural University canteen, Mohkhuthi, a shop at Neuville Road and Monika Sweets, all for Rs 46 per litre.
Located about 25 kms away from the town, the milk is carried by a hired tempo, which is paid Rs 6000 per month.
Inspired by him, nine other farmers in the neighborhood have also taken up dairy farming.
Pankaj said that he had helped a couple of them take loans from the Bank of Maharashtra.
“There is plenty of land at Elengmara and huge potentials. I am looking forward to start a milk cooperative society here with the others. If more farmers join in it will be a large cooperative and profitable enterprise for all,” he said.
With his Gerberas, Antheuriums, tuberose and marigolds, the last brought from Kolkata, finding a ready market in Jorhat, Pankaj is planning to start a farm of layer birds next.