Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said on Friday that the Centre would soon approve the Paschimavahini Project to construct dams across the West-flowing rivers in the State.

He was speaking after inaugurating a three-day “Krishi Mela” organised by Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) here.

Mr. Moily said that the State Government had sent the project to the Centre. Approval for this Rs. 712-crore project would lead to a Green Revolution in the coastal districts. As dams would be built across the West-flowing rivers, water could be used for irrigation. Water from West-flowing rivers flowed into the Arabian Sea without its potential being tapped.

The Centre was committed to rural development. This could be gauged by the fact that it was doing its utmost to create employment in rural areas through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The Centre had allotted Rs. 50,000 crore for this scheme, he said. Though India had the second largest number of cattle, the potential for dairy farming had not been fully exploited. Farmers should adopt modern agricultural methods as they would help them to increase yield. “Farmers should change their mindset,” he said. The Centre had set aside Rs. 80,000 crore for the education sector. It had decided to provide skill training to the youth. The Centre had set aside Rs. 35,000 crore for setting up skill development centres in various parts of the country to train 500 million youths. “India has only two options before it. Either it reaps the benefits of demographic dividend or faces demographic disaster,” he said. Mr. Moily said the SKDRDP was rendering a laudable service to farmers by instilling confidence in them through creation of self-help groups (SHGs). It was providing loans to SHGs through its micro-financing system. “This had helped many farmers to become self-reliant,” he added.

Progressive farmer L.C. Soans was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for farming.

Dharmadhikari of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala D. Veerendra Heggade presided over the inaugural function. Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Yogish Bhat, MLAs Abhayachandra Jain and Gopal Bhandary, MLC Ganesh Karnik, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, K. Narayana Gowda, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, and Chairman of the SCDCC Bank M.N. Rajendra Kumar were present.

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