Khanaura (Hoshiarpur): Terming the various Centers of Excellence being set up by the state government as ‘Harbingers of Second Green Revolution’, the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today said that these ultra modern centers would help in giving the much needed push to second green revolution in the state.
Addressing a mammoth gathering after dedicating the Centre of Excellence for Fruits (Citrus) to the nation here today, the Chief Minister said that these centers were ‘panacea of all the ills’ of the farmers they would help in bailing out the beleaguered peasantry from current agrarian crisis. He said that in the current scenario these Centers of Excellence would play a vanguard role not only in saving the already exhausted natural resources of the state but would also be instrumental in ensuring the all-round development of the state and prosperity of its farmers. Mr. Badal said that the ultra modern techniques used in such centers would acquaint the farmers with the global technology being used in the field of agriculture so as to update their expertise for making sure that they reap maximum profits from the diversification of agriculture.
The Chief Minister said that the state of the art facilities available in this Center of Excellence would help in doubling the per hectare productivity of citrus fruits besides motivating the farmers to increase the area under citrus cultivation from existing six percent to 10% of the state’s cultivable land by producing High yielding Varieties of Citrus fruits. Exhorting the farmers to adopt crop diversification, Mr. Badal said that it was the need of the hour as the farmers of the state were reeling under a whopping debt of Rs 30000 crore. He said that though the hard working and resilient farmers of the state had played a pivotal role in making the country self-reliant in food production but this immense contribution of the Punjabi farmers has not been duly recognized, due to which they were on the verge of economic disaster. “Our farmers have exploited their only available natural resources in term of fertile soil and depleting water table for the food security of the country but today they are confronting a grave crisis” bemoaned Mr. Badal.
Impressing upon the farmers to come out of the rut of wheat/ paddy cycle and adopt crop diversification for enhancing their income, the Chief Minister said it was the dire need of the time as the ever escalating cost of agriculture inputs coupled with the non-remunerative MSP has made farming a non-profitable venture. Mr. Badal said that it was the time to transform the destiny of Punjab by adopting crop diversification along with allied agriculture activities like dairy, fishery, piggery, goatery and others.
Dwelling on another important issue the Chief Minister urged the people to play a proactive role in eradicating the menace of drugs from the map of Punjab. He said that the state government has taken a number of steps to check this serious problem but active support and cooperation of people was required to wipe it out completely. “We are duty bound to eliminate this curse from sacred land of Punjab but the people must also resolve to help the state government in this noble cause” added Mr. Badal. The Chief Minister reiterated that the only solution for checking this menace was to totally cut down the supply line of drugs both from within the country and from abroad.
Later on interacting with the media persons the Chief Minister said that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) would contest the upcoming Delhi assembly polls in alliance with the BJP. He said that SAD-BJP alliance was ever lasting and both the parties would contest these elections jointly.
Replying to another query, the Chief Minister said that Punjab was not the only state which has imposed VAT on Diesel but there were several other states that had done so. He said that rather rate of VAT imposed by the state government on Diesel was far less than that imposed by other states.
Earlier, addressing the gathering Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Mr. Vijay Sampla lauded the Chief Minister for setting up this project in the Kandi area of the state, which would give boost to its economic development. Advocating that the agriculture of the state needs to be protected, Mr. Sampla said that the need of the hour was to encourage Food processing industry in the state.
In his address, Ambassador of Israel Mr. Daniel Carmon said that the inauguration of this centre was significant because it would lay the foundation of good health of the future generations and prosperity of farmers in the state. He also lauded the state government’s effort for setting up this centre in a time bound and professional manner adding that this center was result of dedication and vision of Mr. Badal. The Ambassador said that centre would not only showcase the modern equipments in agriculture but it would initiate a new era of bilateral ties based on mutual trust and support between Israel and Punjab.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers Jathedar Tota Singh and Mr. Sohan Singh Thandal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary Bibi Mohinder Kaur Josh, MLA Mr. Surinder Singh Bhullewalraathan, Chairman Punjab Farmers’ Commission Dr. GS Kalkatt, Financial Commissioner Development Mr. Suresh Kumar, his Special Principal Secretary Mr. Ajoy Sharma, Vice Chancellor Punjab Agriculture University Dr. BS Dhillon, Commissioner Agriculture Dr. Balwinder Singh, Director Agriculture Dr. Mangal Singh and Director horticulture Dr. Gurkanwal Singh.