In comparison with other districts of Assam, Dhemaji district considerably has a good position as to preservation of indigenous rice seeds. Silapathar Science College is the pioneer science college in 114 Jonai (ST) LAC under Dhemaji district in spreading science education. In fact, the institution was established with the objective of imparting knowledge and education in science. The College is surrounded by vast areas of agriculturally prominent land. Large majority of its inhabitants are peasants. They produce varieties of rice seeds both hybrid and indigenous. Huge number of indigenous rice seeds is still very popular among the growers of the district. The curiosity for collection and preservation of varieties of rice seeds, in fact, originated first among the faculty members of the Botany department of Silapathar Science College.
However, in course of time, Botany department of Silapathar Science College, under the supervision of the Principal, Dr. Ranjit Saikia, repeatedly made field visits covering almost entire paddy fields of Dhemaji district and its periphery. As many as 236 different types of indigenous rice inclusive of 30 varieties of HYV paddy samples were collected from the rice growers. This ultimately was instrumental in the inception of the concept of “Rice Bank”. The day of 28th Feb’ 2017 marked a step with the inauguration of Rice Bank in the college.
Nevertheless, the rice bank may be referred as distinctive besides the key academic programme. The rice bank carries as many as three key objectives viz.,
In addition, another significant objective was to bring awareness and propagation of indigenous rice varieties within and outside the district of Dhemaji.
Total Rice varieties preserved in Rice Bank:
|Varieties of Rice
|Nos. of Rice Varieties
|Normal Sali Rice
|High Yielding Variety
As a part of the programme, a number of rice exhibitions (Dhan Mela) were organized. Teachers and students participated in the exhibition programmes. First rice exhibition programme was organized at Krikhok Mela, Jalokiahuti, Silapathar on 1st January, 2017. Second exhibition was held at Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Simen Chapori from 5th and 6th February’ 2017. Third exhibition was held at Namami Brahmaputra Festival organized by Govt. of Assam at Kareng Chapori, Bogibeel from 31st March to 4th April, 2017. In addition to the above exhibitions more other rice exhibition were organized.
After being aware of the activities/efforts of the institution regarding indigenous varieties of rice, a team of scientists from Regional Agricultural Research Station, North Lakhimpur visited the college and had an interactive session with the rice growers from the area and highlighted the importance of GI tag and other related issues.
Importantly, Journalists from the BBC news also visited and observed our rice bank and broadcasted the news. Time and again, students from different schools and colleges pay a visit to the rice bank as part of the education and field work.
Thus, it is found that Silapathar Science College, in addition to the academic activities, has been playing a distinctive role in terms of economic well-being of the locality, which is primarily an agro-based society.
It is hoped that Rice Bank of the college would surely perform a sustainable role in the preservation of varieties of indigenous rice seeds. The rice bank would continue its activities in order to generate research aptitude among the teachers and students in the near future. The Rice Bank and its related activities definitely help in strengthening the distinctiveness of the College.
Publications from the Rice Bank