Pawar against assured crop land for industries

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (UNI) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has opposed the acquisition of agricultural land providing one assured crop for any industrial use.

Talking to newspersons here yesterday, Mr Pawar said a Central guideline in this regard had already been sent to the State Government to ensure that no industry be set up in assured agricultural land.

The Union Minister said the farmers, whose land would be acquired for the industrial purpose, should be compensated at the market rate and every family should get a job.

Besides, some percentage of developed land would be provided to the farmers for non-agriculture purpose.

He said the NCP would ensure that the guidelines be strictly implemented to protect the interests of the farmers.

Referring to the farmers suicide, especially in four states, Mr Pawar said the Centre has come out with a special package of Rs 17,000 crore and new fresh credit.

It was the human burden, which pushed the farmers to commit suicide, he said indicating that the Centre was examining the demand for reduction of debt burden an farmers.

The Union Minister said a decision in this regard would soon be taken by the Government to lessen the burden of the farmers.

He stressed the need for encouraging the terminal market for the farmers to save them from the recurring losses and asked the State Governments to take advantage of the situation.

Reacting to the allegation of the BJD-BJP Government that procurement price of paddy had not been increased, Mr Pawar said, '' I should ask this question to them as to what they were doing when they were in power for six years. '' The NDA Government, he said, had hiked procurement price by Rs 40 only during it six-year tenure, while the UPA Government had effected a rise of Rs 145 during the past three years.

On the use of genetically modified seeds, Mr Pawar said one has to take a number of trials in every season and check them for at least four to five years in the field before their release.

He, however, made it clear that except the BT Cotton,the Centre had not released any GM seed variety.

Mr Pawar said nearly 60 per cent of cotton crop in the country had been covered under the BT Cotton and for the first time during the past 40 years the Indian farmers had produced the highest cotton in the country.

UNI DP SJC/src AKJ RK2241

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