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Kerala seeks Rs 5665 cr assistance for agriculture crisis

Written by: Staff
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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 10 (UNI) The Kerala Government today sought a Central assistance of Rs 5,665 crore to tide over the crisis in the agriculture sector, for which Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar promised to give a final shape to the special package after an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

After a meeting with Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, Mr Pawar said Kerala's problems are different from that of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, which are also facing a serious crisis in the agriculture sector.

Mr Pawar said the state government had initially sought a special package for three districts of Kasaragod, Palakkad and Wayanad. Now, there is a request for adding Idukki and Alappuzha also.

''During my three-day tour to the state, I will try to visit all the affected districts to take stock of the situation. It will be useful for me to present the state's case effectively before the Prime Minister,'' he added.

However, he did not give any time-frame for announcing the special package.

The Minister said the special package would lay empasis on aspects like debt relief, interest waiver, irrigation facilities, watershed, horticulture development and measures to provide supplimentary income for farmers.

The Chief Minister said the state had put forward a demand for Rs 3,412 crore special package for five districts that were facing serious crisis in the agriculture sector. Another Rs 2,253 crore was sought for taking effective measures throughout the state. It included, the measures to be taken to reopen 22 tea estates that remained closed for the past five years leaving 25,000 people jobless.

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