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Gandhinagar, Friday: Taking a strong exception to the Centre's discriminatory farm policy towards non-Congress ruled States, Chief Minister Narendra Modi today exuded confidence that Gujarat would continue to protect the farmers' interests through programmes like Krishi Mahotsav.

Speaking at the Krishi Mela for the central Gujarat region at Godhra, he said the month-long Krishi Mahotsav was launched on the auspicious occasion of Akshay Tritiya and is now being observed in every village. The focus here is on animal husbandry and horticulture, looking to the agro-climatic zone in central Gujarat.

Mr. Modi regretted that instead of taking a cue from the Gujarat's success story, the Centre is indulging in pushing farmers of non-Congress ruled States to input scarcity regime, systematically creating a shortage of seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, water and electricity, denying the farmers remunerative prices, too.

He cited specific examples to drive home his points, like the Centre banning export of cotton to ruin farmers of the leading cotton-growing state like Gujarat. He had written a letter to the Prime Minister to lift the ban but he added that it is unlikely to happen. Now, he said, the Congress at the Centre is contemplating to stop giving credits to farmers.

Mr. Modi on the occasion inaugurated at Godhra the Agricultural Engineering College built by Anand Agricultural University (AAU).

He had earlier addressed Krish Melas for north and south Gujarat regions at Himatnagar and Motaponda respectively. Nearly one lakh karma yogis, including 700 agricultural scientists from the four state agricultural universities, are covering the 18,000 villages in the State during the Mahotsav, creating awareness about the latest developments in agriculture.

Agriculture Minister Dileepbhai Sanghani said that it was due to the Krishi Mahotsav being held for the last seven years to take the benefits of latest agricultural research to the farms that the state's agricultural production has increased to Rs.58.000-crore. He said that nearly 2,700 animal fairs are also held in the state every year to check spread of diseases among the cattle.

He said that the Gujarat Government has allocated Rs.17,225-crore under the ambitious Vanbandhu Yojna for all round development of the tribal people living in the eastern belt of the state, extending from Ambaji to Umargam.

He described tribal farmers of Dahod having grown one lakh tonnes of ginger as one of the significant success stories of Krishi Mahotsav.

Minister of State for Roads and Building Jaydrathsinh Parmar welcomed the guests and Minister of State for Education Jaysinh Chauhan proposed a vote of thanks.

The Chief Minister and other Ministers honoured progressive farmers of the region, unveiled informative booklets published by AAU and distributed farm kits and loans to beneficiaries. Several institutions collectively donated a cheque of Rs.12.99-lakh to the Chief Minister's Kanya Kelavni Nidhi.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Ministers of State Kanubhai Bhalala, Jashwantsinh Bhabhor, Parsottam Solanki, MPs Prabhatsinh Chauhan, Ramsinh Rathwa, Prabhaben Taviad, MLAs Arvindsinh Rathod, Fatesinh Chauhan, Jethabhai Bhrawad and Tusharsinh Maharaulji, Principal Agriculture Secretary R.K. Tripathy, In-charge Secretary J.P. Gupta, District Collector Milind Torwane, DDO Rashmikaben Patel, State Women Commission chairwoman Lilaben Ankolia and AAU Vice-Chancellor M.M. Shaikh, among others.

Gujarat Information Bureau

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