GUWAHATI, June 16 – A review meet on ‘the planning of green revolution to Eastern India programme’ today expressed concern that notwithstanding some ‘good progress’ made by Assam, technology was yet to touch a vast majority of the farmers.
The meet also stressed the need for sustaining the recent development witnessed in the State’s agricultural sector though infrastructure development in rural areas.
PK Basu, Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India, while assessing the status of agriculture in the State, urged the Agriculture Department and the scientists of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) to work in tandem to ensure that the fruits of technology reached the farmers at the grassroots.
“Technology is yet to reach the farmers, and scientists of AAU and Krishi Vikash Kendras (KVKs) should work jointly for dissemination of technology. Unless farm power develops, agriculture cannot develop, and the scientists should go for location-specific and need-based solutions,” he said, adding that the overall progress made by the State in agriculture, however, could be gauged from the fact that it was now a rice-surplus State.
Basu felt that since the State’s agriculture was ‘more rain-fed than irrigated’ there was an urgent need to opt for ‘special types of cultivation practices’ depending on the soil and climatic conditions of the region. In view of the State’s poor power scenario, he suggested the planners to find suitable alternatives including micro irrigation.
Terming the banking facilities for providing loans to the agriculturalists as inadequate in the region, Basu urged the banks to take up agricultural development as a ‘national cause.’ He said that barring SBI and Assam Gramin Vikash Bank, other banks were doing little to facilitate agricultural credit.
Three farmers, i.e., Md Omar Ali from Kharupetia, Kushal Mali from Chhaygaon and Manoram Upadhyay from Jagiroad, who attended the meet, were of the view that banks often displayed a negative attitude in the matter of providing loans. Upadhyay also said that seed subsidy was not as necessary as compared to mechanization of agriculture.
The review meet found Assam to have done a ‘commendable job’ among the six States of eastern India under the project, i.e., West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
The review meet was attended, among others, by Gurbachhan Singh, Agriculture Commissioner, Govt of India, Mukesh Khullar, Jt Secretary, Agriculture (crop), Govt of India, RT Jindal, Principal Secretary and Agriculture Production Commissioner, Assam, and Dr KM Bujarbaruah, VC, AAU, besides senior bank officials including the NABARD CGM.