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Land reforms on fast track

By Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI, JULY 14. The Government today promised to put land reforms on the "fast track'' and find a mechanism to end litigation that puts on hold the farmer's right to plough his own land.

Replying to a calling attention motion on the incidents of suicide by farmers in various parts of the country and remedial measures taken by the Government, the Water Resources Minister, Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, said in Rajya Sabha that the Government had also initiated interaction with State Governments, NGOs and social activists to "share field-level experiences'' before addressing the problems faced by the agriculture sector on the whole and agriculture workers and peasants in particular.

Standing in for the indisposed Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar, Mr. Dasmunshi paid homage to those who had lost their kith and kin due to suicides and promised the Government would wipe out this scourge afflicting several parts of rural India. In the meanwhile, he appealed to the farmers not to lose heart and continue to struggle to improve their lot.

The Minister said the Government was putting in place a programme to create awareness about the various schemes aimed at improving the farm sector. If the feedback indicated that benefits from Central schemes were not accruing to the farmers, "we will take the necessary people to task''. The Government also plans to replicate the Maharashtra model of the cooperative movement all over the country, meet State Government leaders to identify drought-prone districts and receive information about cropping patterns to "address issues and reduce the dangerous trend of suicides''.

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