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`Schemes should reach all farmers'

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INAUGURATION: Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam (second right) inaugurating the Nilgiri Flower Trade Centre in Udhagamandalam on Tuesday. Looking on (from left) are Coonoor MLA A. Soundarapandian; Nilgiris Collector Santosh K. Misra; and S tate Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran. Photo: D. Radhakrishnan
INAUGURATION: Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam (second right) inaugurating the Nilgiri Flower Trade Centre in Udhagamandalam on Tuesday. Looking on (from left) are Coonoor MLA A. Soundarapandian; Nilgiris Collector Santosh K. Misra; and S tate Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran. Photo: D. Radhakrishnan

Special Correspondent

Proposal to construct a building for a regulated market at Rs. 1 crore

Udhagamandalam: The benefits of farm-related schemes being implemented by the government should reach all sections of the agricultural community, said State Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam. Mr Arumugam was inaugurating the Nilgiris Flower Trade Centre (e-auction system) here on Tuesday. Lamenting that at present only about 25 per cent of the farmers were utilising concessions and subsidies, he said the situation must change. The government is prepared to consider favourably various demands of the farmers but they must benefit all. In a bid to enhance awareness about the schemes the government will distribute handbooks in all panchayat unions.

Packing room

Pointing out that a Market Committee had started functioning in the Nilgiris, he said there was a proposal to construct a building for a regulated market here at a cost of Rs 1 crore. The building would have a hall to conduct auctions, a packing room and other facilities. Buildings for regulated markets would also be constructed at Kotagiri, Coonoor and Gudalur at a cost of Rs 75 lakh each. Until they came up temporary facilities would be provided. The government was ready to establish an Uzhavar Sandhai at Kotagiri if a proper place was identified. Describing the flower auction centre as a boon to the floriculturists here, Mr. Arumugam said it had come into being at a cost of Rs 11 lakh. The centre would be upgraded in a phased manner and associated facilities established in different parts of the district at a cost of Rs 8 crore.

Since the conditions in the Nilgiris are conducive for growing world class flowers, the government has declared the district as an Agri-Export Zone and ordered for the creation of the necessary infrastructure at a cost of Rs 15.89 crore. State Khadi Board Minister K. Ramachandran said since agriculture formed the backbone of the economy of the Nilgiris, the establishment of a flower auction centre assumed considerable significance. The prolonged crisis in the tea industry notwithstanding one should not lose sight of the fact that it has played a major role in the socio-economic uplift of the district. Commissioner, Agricultural Production, Surjit K. Chowdhary said agriculture should be treated as a commercial activity and all farmers should be market savvy. They should not allow themselves to be exploited.

The floriculturists should be quality conscious and climb the ladder of success one rung at a time. The Nilgiris Collector Santosh K. Misra who presided urged the flower growers to make the optimum use of the auction centre and various schemes being implemented for them. Knowledge about matters like Intellectual Property Rights should be disseminated to all farmers.

The Commissioner, Horticulture and Plantation Crops Jagmohan Singh Raju said the Nilgiris and flowers were synonymous. Director, Agricultural Marketing, P.M. Basheer Ahmed said on account of the climate flowers like carnation and lilium grown here were better than those grown in some other places.

President, Flower Growers Association of India K. Natarajan and Coonoor MLA A. Soundarapandian also spoke. Joint Director of Horticulture R. Selvaraj welcomed the gathering. President, Nilgiris Flower Growers Association, T.V.M.Premkumar proposed a vote of thanks.

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