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Agri dept gears up to ensure smooth sailing for paddy farmers

Agri dept gears up to ensure smooth sailing for paddy farmers

Kolkata: Apprehending that lack of manpower due to COVID-19 would affect paddy cultivation, the state Agriculture department has started taking all necessary steps to ensure that farmers get equipped with paddy plantation machines for sowing of seeds. This comes at a time when Bengal has topped among all states in the country in cultivation of paddy.

Since many daily wage labourers from neighbouring districts work in paddy fields, farmers are now contemplating dearth of workers when they will undertake sowing of paddy seeds with the onset of monsoon that usually sets in Bengal in the second week of June.

Asish Banerjee, the state Agriculture minister, said: "Farmers are apprehending that they may not get the required manpower for sowing of paddy seeds as at present we all are passing through a period of uncertainty. But I would like to assure our farmers that there is nothing to worry as they can use paddy plantation machines which are now easily available in our state."

"There is a large section of farmers in Bengal at present who own the machine and those who do not have it can hire the same from custom hiring centre. The Mamata Banerjee's government provides 40 percent subsidy if anyone wants to buy the same," the minister said, adding that use of the machine also reduces the cost of production as sowing of seed on one bigha land gets completed in just 30 minutes.

The top brass of the state Agriculture department will be holding a high-level meeting soon after the complete safety restrictions are withdrawn in order to prepare a plan of action for the post-lockdown situation.

The state Agriculture department had taken up a unique move in August 2019 by demonstrating how the machine functions to farmers. It took place in Birbhum and the department has also taken steps to provide two rice plantation machines in each subdivision that paddy growers can use free of cost.

Meanwhile, the state Agriculture department has directed all district magistrates and Deputy Directors of Agriculture (DDA) in every district to ensure that no clearance is given for subsidy to buy tractors unless the applicant is in acute need or the purpose is genuine.

The step has been taken after it came to the notice of the top brass of the department that many were using the tractors for illegal mining of sand instead of using the same for agricultural purpose.

The state government gives the subsidy to buy tractors as a step to help farmers in ensuring a better yield. The issue had cropped up in a meeting of the state Agriculture department held a few weeks ago.

There is a committee in every district and respective district magistrate, DDA and sabhadipati are its members. The committee gives clearances allowing a person getting subsidy to buy tractors.

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