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SERVICE CENTRE PLANNING FOR COMMUNICATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AGRICULTURE : A CASE STUDY
Mishra SP. and Mishra RP.
Service centres having its specific locations in geographical space and gravity of services act as a very important tool in spatial modeling and shaping various socio-economic and politico-cultural activities of the surrounding region. One has to be very conscious in establishing any unit of function under which the concerned activities may provide maximum benefit at minimum cost. The communication and sustainable development in agriculture may be accounted as one of the very important issue of rural India. In modern technological age the communication media is playing a very important role in spreading the new agricultural techniques and diffusion of innovation. It may serve as unique contribution in a region having diverse terrain conditions where farmers of the remote villages are handicapped with the poor mobility. Thus the identification of service centres and their appropriate utilization in distribution and planning of communication systems along with various agricultural extension services may prove very fruitful. The present paper attempts to analyze and explain the above facts taking into account the Mirzapur District of Eastern U.P. as a case study.
Mirzapur district (24o 34' N – 25o 16' N and 82o 05" E – 83o 11' E) consists of two varying nature of terrain conditions such as Ganga flood plain in the north and Vindhyan upland in the south. Geological and geomorphological phenomena in the district largely control the agricultural activities. Because of these facts, the settlements and infrastructural resources are unevenly distributed. The hierarchy of settlements and service centres has been identified by using composite index based on the three indices such as i) working population, ii) working force under tertiary activities and iii) centrality index. There are 1722 revenue villages and 4 urban centres. Amongst these settlements/centres, 84 service centres have been identified under the five tier hierarchic order such as first (1), second (3), third (10), fourth (31) and fifth (39). The distributions of these centres are also controlled by the physico-cultural factors of the district. The development blocks in the northern part have the facilities of larger number of service centres including almost all first (Mirzapur – Vindhyachal) and second (Chunar, Ahraura, Kachhawan) level centres. A deep relationship has been observed between the distribution of service centres and agricultural productivity and level of development. Therefore, the study also attempts to suggest a network of service centres for future growth and sustainable agricultural development in Mirzapur district.