Tamil Nadu

Focus shifts to legislation on special agricultural zone

Representational image.

Representational image.  

Concept of reserved forests could be considered in implementing initiative: expert

With Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami announcing that a law will be formulated to accord Protected Special Agricultural Zone status to the delta region, the broad contours of the proposed legislation have become a subject matter of discussion among farmers and experts.

While acknowledging that he did not have information regarding the latest initiative of the government, Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), N. Kumar, said the concept of reserved forests could be considered in developing the agricultural zone.

As is the case with reserved forests, an independent body could be constituted to consider proposals for permissible industrial projects in the delta region, Mr. Kumar said.

‘Boost farm income’

His predecessor and former Member (Agriculture) in the State Planning Commission, K. Ramasamy, felt that the State government should aim to take steps that would boost farmers’ earnings.

“No great purpose will be served by making the delta confine itself to the present level of agriculture. The government has to take steps to facilitate the establishment of food processing industries and value-added units, besides encouraging farmers to cultivate pulses in a big way,” Mr. Ramasamy added.

Giving an illustration for value-added products, Dr. Ramasamy said numerous units could be formed for batter. This will come in handy as the delta region attracted a large number of tourists, especially pilgrims.

As for pulses, there were two broad varieties — short duration and longer duration. Agriculturists could be incentivised further to raise them, Dr. Ramasamy said.

Focus shifts to legislation on special agricultural zone

‘Several challenges’

He pointed out that there were several challenges concerning agriculture-led industrialisation, as a situation had arisen wherein textile units and sugar mills need not be reliant on local production of raw materials.

“This is why the need for new thinking has arisen,” Dr. Ramasamy said.

V. Sathyanarayanan, a farmer from Tiruvarur who, along with P.R. Pandian and a host of other agriculturists, personally thanked the Chief Minister on Monday for announcing that the delta region will be declared a Protected Special Agricultural Zone, said that sustainable availability of water, the protection of farmland against further salinity intrusion, the construction of sub-surface dykes to improve the groundwater table and the modernisation of canals were among the measures that the government should focus on simultaneously.

A policy-maker said the proposed law will be ‘unique’.

A source in the ruling party said that there was talk among his colleagues that the Bill may be introduced in the forthcoming Assembly session, which is scheduled to begin on Friday.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 2:40:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/focus-shifts-to-legislation-on-special-agricultural-zone/article30787010.ece

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