Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday laid the foundation stone for a multipurpose cold storage with a capacity of 2500 metric tonnes to augment infrastructure facilities at Lasalgaon, Asia’s biggest onion market, in Nashik district. The project has been initiated through the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of ConCor. Cold storage facilities for perishable crops have been given special impetus to check volatile prices and also provide better remuneration to farmers. In the absence of adequate cold storage chains, farmers often have to sell their crops at lower prices, thus allowing middlemen to exploit them.
Fadnavis said, “A robust market value chain and adequate infrastructure complete with cold chains will help farmers both store and hold their crops to reap better dividends. The cold storage will help farmers determine the prices and they will no longer be vulnerable to the middlemen. They can hold their onion crops if prices are extremely low, and wait to sell when they get better price, This would help them recover the investments and also earn decent profits.”
Of the total 227 cold storage projects sanctioned by the Centre, he said, Maharashtra got 52. Of these, work on 25 has completed in the state. “To make cold storage economically feasible and reduce the rentals, the state government will work to reduce the electricity tariff,” said Fadnavis.
To provide 24×7 electricity to the farmers, agriculture is being shifted to separate feeders driven on solar energy. “The project will become a reality in Ralegan Siddhi soon,” said the CM.
Fadnavis and Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu also announced a halt of Kamayani Express at Lasalgaon. The decision was a long pending demand from the local people.
The CM said the Centre and the state were working on railway projects worth Rs 1 lakh crore in Maharashtra for the last two years.
Meanwhile, members of the Shetkari Sanghatana demanded a complete loan waiver at the Lasalgaon function where the CM was addressing the farmers. A farmer activist said, “We are not happy with the loan waiver and it should be a complete loan waiver.” In response, the CM said, “My government has given the biggest loan waiver to 89 lakh farmers. By now, I am used to some groups who protest and raise such slogans.”