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Rs. 200 crores released towards Revolving Fund

Staff Correspondent

The measure is to protect farmers' interests if prices fall


MYSORE: Anticipating a bumper harvest of 1.13 crore tonnes of foodgrains this year on account of good rainfall, the State Government has released Rs. 200 crores towards the Revolving Fund set up for market intervention by the authorities in the event of a fall in prices.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, Agriculture Minister K. Srinivas Gowda said the anticipated good harvest had already created apprehension among farmers of a fall in the prices.

"We want to assure the farmers that the Government will intervene and ensure that their marketing interests are protected," he said.

Mr. Gowda revealed that the Cabinet, which met on Wednesday, decided to release Rs. 200 crores out of the earmarked Rs. 500 crores towards the Revolving Fund set up for market intervention.

Rainfall

The State had experienced good rainfall during the monsoon.

"All the districts, except Kolar, Tumkur and Chitradurga, had received above average rainfall," he said and added that all the rivers were full.

Against the 83 lakh tonnes of foodgrain production last year, the State was anticipating a record output of 1.13 crore tonnes this year. Several crops, particularly maize, had registered a record output, Mr. Gowda said.

Crop loan

The coalition Government was capable of providing its farmers crop loan at an interest rate of 6 per cent, water for irrigation and assistance in marketing the agricultural produce. The State Government had earmarked Rs. 500 crores for market intervention in the event of a price collapse, he said.

Mr. Gowda said the Government would come out with an agricultural policy specific to each district in the State. Referring to the agricultural scenario in Mysore, he said the light soil in the region was conducive for growing tobacco with less nicotine content. "Right from H.D. Kote to Haveri, farmers can grow tobacco with less nicotine content and command an international demand for it," he said.

Though tobacco growers in the region grew 93 million kg of superior Virginia fluke cured variety of tobacco last year that brought huge foreign exchange, the Government sought to push the target of production this year to 100 million kg.

However, due to various reasons, the crop suffered this year, he said.

The State Government was implementing a ground water-recharging programme under the watershed and Jalasamvardhane schemes launched during the tenure of the former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna. Under the programme, the Government would be constructing ponds to recharge groundwater. "Under the `Pond for each field', a water body measuring 30 ft. by 30 ft. with a depth of 10 ft. will be created for each hectare of land at a cost of Rs. 20,000," he said. But the landowner should contribute about Rs. 2,000 for the pond, he said.

Referring to the much-debated "India Investment Climate Assessment 2004" report brought out jointly by the World Bank and the Confederation of India Industries (CII), Mr. Gowda said there was no truth in the smear campaign launched by Mr. Krishna's political detractors.

"The survey, carried out across 39 cities including four in Karnataka, had collected data from barely 150 small-scale industries (SSIs) and 50 large and medium industries in Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli and Mangalore. There are more than three lakh SSIs and 1,200 large and medium industries in the State.

The findings are not representative of a majority of the industrial units," he added.

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