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CM's steps to bear fruit, help farmers tide over Corona crisis

CMs steps to bear fruit, help farmers tide over Corona crisis

Kolkata: The foresightedness of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in ensuring availability of state-of-the-art agri-machineries in the state is going to help farmers tide over the crisis that may arise due to non-availability of workers to harvest rabi crops. The shortage of workers is apprehended in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Chief Minister has ensured setting up of Custom Hiring Centres across the state, from where farmers can take heavy machineries on rent for cultivation in their agricultural land.

There are heavy agri-machineries including combine harvesters each worth Rs 26 lakh at the custom hiring centres, run by local youths in respective areas in the rural parts of the state. As many as 1,380 custom hiring centres have been set up since 2012.

The state government provides 40 percent subsidy to buy the machineries. It helps in making local youth self-reliant, as they run the centres while farmers can use the machineries just by hiring and they did not have to make a huge investment to own such a machine.

Setting up the custom hiring centres was a brainchild of the Chief Minister and the state Agriculture department has implemented the project following her direction.

Now in the wake of COVID-19, farmers are apprehending that there would be a shortage of manpower that is needed during the harvest of crops. In such a situation, the state government has taken all necessary steps to keep the machineries at all the custom hiring centres ready to combat the crisis.

"Even if there is shortage of man power, harvest of crops will be carried out using the machines," said a senior state government official.

Farmers in North Bengal have already started reaping benefits of the same, as harvest of wheat has been carried out using combine harvester that was easily available for farmers at a custom hiring centre at Satmile in Cooch Behar district. "The same would be done in South Bengal as well," the official added.

Pradip Majumdar, agricultural advisor to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said: "The work to ensure that the state becomes self-reliant in having its own infrastructure for mechanisation in agriculture sector has been carried out since 2012, following instruction of the Chief Minister. As a result, farmers didn't have to worry about harvesting crops even if there is shortage of manpower."

The state government has also set up a centre at Mati Tirtha Krishi Katha in Burdwan, where youths undergo training on repairing these heavy agri-machineries. It has also made the state self-reliant in carrying out repairing work of the machineries, including combined harvesters.

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