Laying stress on setting up more ultra-modern centers of excellence for undertaking research and design (R&D) to promote agriculture diversification in the state, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday said that these were the 'temples of second green revolution' which were required for bailing out the farmers from the current agrarian crisis.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables (CEV) here, the chief minister said that it was a historic day for the entire Punjab as a new chapter for the growth and prosperity of the state has been initiated.
He exhorted the ambassador of Israel Alon Ushpiz, present on the occasion, to support the state government for opening more such centres in Punjab so that the farmers could benefit from them.
He said that though the farmers of the state had played a vanguard role in making the country self-reliant in food production but due to wrong policies of the union government they were facing economic crisis.
Badal said that the massive hike in the cost of agricultural inputs coupled with the non-remunerative MSP has broken the backbone of the farmers due to which there was dire need for adopting crop diversification in state.
The chief minister said that in the current scenario, these centres of excellence would play a vanguard role not only in saving the already exhausted natural resources of the state but would also be instrumental in ensuring the all-round development of the state and prosperity of its farmers.
He said that the ultra-modern techniques used in such centres would acquaint the farmers with the global technology being used in the field of agriculture so as to update their expertise for making sure that they reap maximum profits from the diversification of agriculture.
Badal said that the state government was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that more and more such centres were opened in the state for the larger interest of the farmers adding that special thrust was being laid on promoting the cultivation of vegetables and citrus fruits through them.
The chief minister also called upon the farmers of the state to adopt crop diversification not only to enhance their income but to ensure sustainable growth of the state.
He said that it was high time that the farmers come out of the rut of the wheat-paddy rotation, which was not only less remunerative but also required extensive water.
In his address, Israel's ambassador Alon Ushpiz said that the inauguration of this centre was significant because it would lay the foundation of good health of future generations and prosperity of farmers in the state.
Lauding the state government's effort for setting up this centre, while speaking in Punjabi, Ushpiz said that the centre would not only showcase the modern equipments in agriculture but it would initiate a new era of bilateral ties based on mutual trust and support between Israel and Punjab.
The chief minister was accompanied by cabinet minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala, his special principal secretary Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, secretary agriculture Kahan Singh Pannu, mission director of the National Horticulture Mission Sanjeev Chopra, Commissioner, Jalandhar Division R Venkatratnam, deputy commissioner Varun Roojam, director of agriculture Mangal Singh and director of horticulture mission, Punjab, Gurkanwal Singh.
Sarai Khas village woman shows courage, intercepts CM from audience gallery
Irked over the failure to get electricity connection for a tubewell, Kulwant Kaur, a resident of nearby Sarai Khas village, stood and started speaking loudly to draw the attention of the chief minister sitting on the stage.
"You are saying that the government is taking care of small farmers in the state but I have failed to get a connection for my tubewell due to corruption. We have voted to bring you in power but nobody is listening to us," she said.
Taking notice of her, the CM directed SDM Paramjeet Singh to listen to her grievance and resolve the same immediately. She was taken outside the Pandal by security persons where she told her grievance to the SDM.