Chief Minister announces separate allocations for different segments

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday unveiled a Rs. 984.70-crore package to give a stimulus to agriculture production, taking into account the shrinkage of cultivated land and to ensure that farmers got a fair price for their produce.

Making a suo motu statement in the Assembly, the Chief Minister announced separate allocations for different segments of agriculture.

One of her announcements was for purchase of 700 Rain Gun and Mobile Sprinklers at a cost of Rs. 57 crore. These machines will be used for effective utilisation of water from farm ponds being dug in all districts to ensure water supply in seasons of inadequate rain. A total of 15,000 farm ponds are being dug in the delta districts, and another 56,000 ponds in other districts.

As agriculture production was likely to go down in the wake of reduction in the area of cultivated land, around 12,500 acres of arid land in the State would be made into cultivable by providing water facilities.

The government would provide Rs. 4000 per acre as back-end subsidy and supply inputs at a subsidised rate.

The State will have an express mission mode approach at three levels – village, taluks and districts – to foster increase in the cultivation of paddy, millets and cereals. Millet cultivation in the State had come down substantially in the last three decades.

To meet protein requirements, red gram will be cultivated on 50,000 acres. The government will spend Rs. 55.60 crore to provide drip irrigation to 10,000 acres under red gram cultivation.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said sugarcane production would be increased through implementation of a sustainable sugarcane initiative on 50,000 acres. The project cost is Rs. 275.20 crore and will be done through sugar mills.

The Chief Minister said a special purpose vehicle would be launched to ensure that quality agricultural and horticultural inputs were available for farmers. The total cost for the scheme is Rs. 112.49 crore.

She said her government was taking efforts to mechanise agricultural operations as the farm sector could not provide sustained income and the people from rural areas were migrating to towns. This year also government would purchase farm machines at a cost of Rs. 124.70 crore.

The government also decided to set up service centres in 50 taluks at a cost of Rs. 28.25 crore to provide counselling on horticultural crop technology

A special commercial complex for tender coconut in Coimbatore district, special complex for banana in Tirunelveli district, approach roads for 10 regulated markets and new regulated markets in Bodinayakanur and Muthukalathur are other announcements.

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