186 custom hire service centres to be set up this year

Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda on Tuesday told the Legislative Council that efforts were on to set up 186 custom hire service centres for agricultural machinery and farm implements this year to help small and marginal farmers.

Replying to Congress member Pratapchandra Shetty during the Question Hour, the Minister said farm machinery would be available for a nominal rent at these centres.

He said the government had called for expression of interest from non-governmental organisations and charitable institutions to set up the custom hire service centres.

Mr. Gowda said the government was implementing a programme related to farm mechanisation mainly to fight the shortage of labour. Under this programme, farmers belonging to the general category were getting a subsidy of 50 per cent on the purchase of agricultural machinery while those belonging to SC/ST communities were being given 90 per cent subsidy.

Concern

Replying to a query, he expressed concern that the area under paddy cultivation in the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada had seen a decrease of about 11,103 hectares in the last five years.

Replying to a query by BJP member Doddarange Gowda, the Minister said members would be appointed to the Agricultural Prices Commission shortly.

Replying to Congress member Allam Prabhu Patil during the Zero Hour, the Minister said he would direct the authorities to resume toor dal procurement by offering a minimum support price in Gulbarga district. Earlier, Mr. Patil alleged that farmers were in dire straits as procurement centres had been abruptly closed for want of funds.

More In: Karnataka | National