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State selected for Krishi Karman Award 2013-14
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Dec 12 – The State has been selected for the Union Government’s Krishi Karman Award for the year 2013-14 as the best performing State in pulse production. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has formally informed the State Government of this development.

 The State has been nominated for this award for the fourth consecutive year. The award consists of a cash amount of Rs 2 crore. The award will be presented to the State at a function being held soon, the Union Minister said in his communications to the State Government.

Disclosing this at a press conference here today, State’s Agriculture Minister Nilamani Sen Deka also told mediapersons that in matters of cropping intensity, the State is 8 per cent ahead of the national level. And in matters of productivity, it has touched the national level in some cases.

The double cropping mission of the State is expected to benefit at least six lakh farmers. The State has been able to produce a surplus quantity of around 6,000 metric tons of rice last year and this year it has projected production of 54.40 lakh metric tons of rice, he said.

It is expected that within the next two years, the State would be able to become self-sufficient in onion production. In this regard, the State has by now attained the productivity of 15 tons per hectare, that is – 70 mounds per bigha, said the Minister.

However, he said despite good onion production, the State has not been able to overcome the scarcity of the item in the market. This is because of the market factors, failure of the conventional cold storage systems to preserve onion etc.

The State has an annual demand of 4.5 metric tons of onion.

The Agriculture Department is trying to cover 10,000 hectares of land under onion cultivation and 500 model storage facilities would be provided to the farmers so that supply of onion at reasonable price could be ensured during the periods of shortfall, the Minister said.

Conventional cold storage facilities have also failed to help the State reduce the prices of potato with its own production. There is a need to set up new cold storage facilities so that such problems could be effectively tackled, the Minister apprised.

New ventures: Stating that the Agriculture Department is keen on bringing about a change in the farming sector, the Minister said the department will train up 5,000 youths to work in the poly houses. Altogether 28 rice mills will be provided to unemployed youths at 50 per cent subsidy.

Moreover, trucks will be provided to the farmers to bring their vegetables to the urban areas. This will eliminate the middlemen in this area.

The department will distribute 329 tractors, around 7,000 power tillers and around 70,000 pumps to the farmers. Many farmers have so far applied for these items. The entire process of distributing these items would be made transparent, the Minister said.

Corruption: The Minister denied existence of any seed distribution –related scam in the department. For, none of the farmers has lodged any complaint with the department in this respect. Till date seeds worth Rs 31 crore have been distributed.

The seeds are selected as per the recommendations of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Assam Agricultural University etc., institutions, he said.

The total budget of the department for the 2014-15 fiscal is of Rs 900 crore. This includes the Central assistance amount of Rs 300 crore. But the Central Government is yet to release this amount, the Minister said.

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