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Govt. urged to nationalise rivers

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, JUNE 13. The Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants' Association has called upon the Centre to nationalise the rivers and ensure that the water sources are equally shared by all States.

In a pre-budget memorandum submitted to the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, in New Delhi, the president, V. Dhanasekaran, said the linking of rivers would help to solve the drinking water scarcity, bring more acreage under cultivation and generate power.

The money needed for the project, he suggested, could be raised through bonds, and an autonomous body set up to execute the project. The bonds should be made interest-free, and even the government institutions such as the Life Insurance Corporation of India and the Unit Trust of India should be allowed to take part.

The association urged the Centre to expedite the Sethusamudram and golden quadrilateral projects. The Government should invest in rural infrastructure, especially in the housing and tourism sectors. More money should be set aside for improving roads, power generation and irrigation.

The association urged the Government to protect the local industry and farmers, in the backdrop of globalisation and the regime imposed by the World Trade Organisation. The import or export of foodgrains, pulses, sugar and edible oil should be strictly regulated to keep the internal production stable.

Besides declaring agriculture as an industry, the Centre should fix remunerative prices for farm produce and extend hassle-free credit to farmers. Cess should be collected only for transactions done within the market, and that too, only when service was rendered, and not on sales carried out in the bazaar where the traders procured and sold goods on their own, it said.

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