HP seeks NABARD funding for increasing land under irrigation

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Shimla, Mar 24 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today sought NABARD funding for increasing land under irrigation in the state in the coming five years to strengthen the agriculture sector, which has been adopted as the priority area.

Addressing the inaugural session of the State Credit Seminar, organised by NABARD here, he said scientists of the state had been asked to prepare specific irrigation plans for every district where water efficient minor, mini and micro irrigation schemes could be constructed to increase the area under irrigation in the next five years.

Mr Dhumal said NABARD funding was necessary to implement its plans, which would generate employment and self employment avenues for the rural youth.

The investment requirements could be worked out on a public-private partnership model with emphasis on rainwater harvesting structures and recharging of ground water, he added.

To obtain optimum benefits from the small land holdings, efforts would be made to encourage farmers to adopt multi cropping system and cultivate supplementary cash crops in their orchards and farms to increase their income, he said.

The Chief Minister said besides agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, aromatic plants cultivation were some of the income generating areas for which the farmers should acquire the requisite technical know-how and information.

Observing that NABARD could play a pivotal role in strengthening the farm sector, he said the government had directed the Agriculture, Horticulture, Forest and Ayurveda departments to work in close coordination and explore possibilities in making agriculture and allied activities a remunerative and income generating vocation.

Referring to the NABARD's initiative of ''home stay'' scheme, he said it would benefit the rural masses by generating additional income for them, besides giving a boost to rural tourism.

Besides, he said, efforts were also on to to create necessary infrastructure to prolong the stay of visitors in the state.

He called upon the NABARD authorities to have different parameters for executing developmental schemes, since they take more time compared to the plains.

He appriciated the bank's contribution in funding the Saraswati Bal Vidya Sankalp Yojna, which had helped in building a minimum of three cemented rooms in every government primary school in Himachal.

The Chief Minister also released ''State Focus Paper'' prepared by NABARD for Himachal Pradesh for the next financial year and appreciated its endeavour in carrying out thorough study of different k, sectors.

UNI AS PS RSA RS1921

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