`Krishi Mela' to be held next month

BANGALORE, NOV. 29. A two-day national-level "Krishi Mela" will be held here from December 26. It will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

Addressing presspersons here today, the Minister for Agriculture, K. Srinivasa Gowda, said the State Government and Bharat Krishik Samaj, headed by the former Union Minister and Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Balram Jakhar, would jointly organise the event at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium.

A workshop on suicide by farmers would be organised during the mela to find a solution to the problems faced by the farmers across the country. Agricultural scientists, including, M.S. Swaminathan, would deliver lectures, he said.

The Union Minister for Finance, P. Chidambaram; the former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) national president, H.D. Deve Gowda; the Deputy Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah; and Agriculture Ministers from different States would participate in the mela.

An agricultural research centre would be inaugurated at Pavagada in Tumkur district on December 13, he said. The main task of the centre would be to disseminate information to farmers on diversification of crops.

To a question on irregularities in the disbursement of crop insurance, the Minister said the Agriculture Department would take corrective steps and punish officials who refused to release the insurance to farmers.

Stating that there were differences in the release of crop insurance to different districts, he said Rs. 104 crores had been released for Dharwad district while Kolar had received only Rs. 44 lakhs.

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