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To make villages ideal, crop pattern needs to change

By Anuj Cariappa

Mumbai, Mar 10: Union minister Nitin Gadkari Saturday said experiments in the crop pattern followed by farmers was needed to make villages ideal and asked heads of villages to lead the change.

Speaking at the 'Navrashtra Sarpanch Samrat and Agrotech' award ceremony here, Gadkari said panchayat heads were interacting with farmers at the ground level and, therefore, should be catalysts in the progress of villages.

To make villages ideal, crop pattern needs to change

He told the gathering that the country's civic hierarchy starts from the village gram sabha before moving on to higher groupings like municipal corporations and governments.

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"If each sarpanch resolves to make their village an ideal one, the entire country would become an ideal one," he said.

Speaking on change in crop pattern, he said, "There is surplus production of sugar, wheat and pulses in the country.

We need to change our crop pattern and pursue alternate crops as per market demand. The village sarpanch should take a lead in this as well as in farm experiments to reduce production cost."

He said migration from rural areas to cities took place due to lack of good schools, hospitals, work and proper prices for farm produce, adding that all-round efforts are required at the village-level to stop this migration cycle.

"I remember in 1999, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had called me to Delhi and asked me to prepare a draft to connect every village in the country by roads. A committee headed by me had submitted a report and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana was started," he recollected.

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He said an expert had told him that connecting all villages with roads would increase the Gross Domestic Product of the country by at least Rs 1.9 lakh crore.

He said water management in villages was also important, citing an example of drought-prone Latur area which has deployed just two water tankers due to adequate water saving by authorities and residents.

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