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Govt releases Rs 70 cr to boost agri sector

The Punjab government on Friday said a sum of Rs 70 crore has been released to the state agriculture department during this fiscal to help boost the farm sector.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: July 21, 2012 2:26:26 am

The Punjab government on Friday said a sum of Rs 70 crore has been released to the state agriculture department during this fiscal to help boost the farm sector.

“This will help bail out the beleaguered peasantry by encouraging diversification of the agriculture,besides upgradation of the agriculture infrastructure in the state,” an official spokesperson said.

Out of Rs 70 crore,a major chunk – Rs 26.75 crore — has been earmarked for conservation of the irrigation water in the state,he added.

Under this project underground pipelines were being laid for the conveyance of the water particularly to the waterlogged districts of Punjab where the groundwater was saline and not fit for irrigation purposes.

A sum of Rs 16 crore would be spent on providing much required medicines in Veterinary Hospitals/Poly Clinics for preventing the spread of diseases amongst the animals and breed improvement of cattle.

To bridge the technological gaps in the farm practices and to encourage the farmers to adopt ultra modern techniques in the filed of agriculture,a sum of Rs 8 crore will be spent on the setting up a Integrated Farmer’s Training Centre in Gurdaspur. The centre would provide the technical know how to the farmers relating the crop production,dairy farming and fish farming besides the effective use of agriculture machinery.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has issued special directions to the agriculture department that major emphasis should be laid down on the diversification of agriculture,the official added.

Money released under the Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Yojna,will help improve sustainability of the agriculture enormously besides increasing the income of the farmers “because the exorbitant hike in the cost of agricultural inputs has rendered the farming profession a non-profitable venture”,he said.

“Therefore,the Chief Minister has directed the agriculture department to make focused attention for motivating the farmers to adopt dairy farming and fishery as allied profession apart from horticulture,which too has a tremendous scope for boosting the income of the peasantry,” he said.

To encourage fruit and vegetable cultivation,the farmers from Mansa,Barnala,Moga and Ropar districts have now been covered under the National Horticulture Mission.

A sum of Rs 2 crore has been earmarked for establishing Perishable Cargo centre at International Airport,Amritsar,so as to boost the export of horticulture products to the Commonwealth Independent States and the Middle East countries,he added.

In another important initiative aimed at supplying the adequate fertilizers to the farmers at much subsidized rates,the state government has earmarked Rs 3.35 crore for pre-positioning of 128 lakh tonnes of DAP in the co-operative societies across the state.

HC tells FCI,PUNGRAIN to occupy all grain godowns

Seeking to resolve the tussle between FCI and PUNGRAIN,a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the organisations to occupy 27 godowns constructed by private entrepreneurs under ‘7-Year Guarantee Scheme of 2008’ within one week regardless of deficiencies pointed out by FCI. PUNGRAIN has been directed to rectify such deficiencies at the earliest.

Directing FCI and PUNGRAIN to store food grains,the court observed that,“Millions of tonnes of food grains is rotting in the open. The respondents cannot be allowed to keep the godowns empty.” The directions were passed by on Friday in a PIL filed by Bhola Singh.

Advocate H C Arora,counsel for the petitioner,submitted that the intention of FCI and PUNGRAIN appeared to be to occupy the godowns only on paper without storing grains.

The petitioner stated that the godowns,with a capacity of more than 3 lakh metric tones,were constructed by private parties on tenders issued by PUNGRAIN.

The godown rent is required to be paid by the FCI,besides reimbursement of expenses to PUNGRAIN for security and preservation of grain stocks.

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