Panaji, July 4: At a time when the nation is facing a huge farm crisis with the rapid rise in farmer suicide rates, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Goa has come up with a "controversial and unproven" method to help farmers grow better crops.
According to a report by The Indian Express, the state government has asked farmers to sit, meditate and chant vedic mantra--Om rom jum sah--for at least 20 minutes for better yields.
The man behind the eyebrow-raising initiative is state's agriculture minister Vijay Sardesai. The minister on Tuesday inaugurated a pilot project on vedic technique at a field close to his residence in Fatorda, stated the report by the English daily.
Designed by Avadhoot Shivanand, a former chemical engineer turned godman, the project has been named as "Shiv Yog Cosmic Farming". In fact, Shivanand, who claims to have followers from across the world, runs Shiv Yog Foundation in Gurgaon near the national capital.
"There is no money involved and, as an agriculture minister, I will explore every method to increase interest in farming. If you convince me a rock show or a beauty contest will also help get people excited about agriculture, I will pull it in the middle of the fields. We need to now look into methods to get everyone interested in farming," Sardesai said while launching the project.
Several scientists, rationalists and opposition party leaders have questioned the latest move of the BJP government to focus on "unscientific methods" to fight against the looming agricultural crisis.
Even Sardesai has admitted that the state government did not verify the claims made by Shivanand that vedic chants and meditation could help farmers to harvest better crops.