Farmers getting sprinklers by just paying GST, thanks to Bengal govt
Kolkata: In a surprising move by the state government, farmers in Bengal are getting machines just by paying the Goods and Services Tax (GST), to set up better micro irrigation facilities. This comes at a time when there has been unusually low rainfall in 10 districts in Bengal.
According to Asish Banerjee, the state Agriculture minister, it has become possible only because of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's initiative to introduce the Bangla Krishi Sech Yojana.
It may be mentioned that there has been unusually less rainfall in the districts of West Midnapore, Hooghly, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Malda, Cooch Behar, East and West Burdwan and North and South Dinajpur. In such a situation, the state government has assured farmers that there is nothing to panic, as there will be no shortage of water if farmers go for properly planned irrigation.
In this light, Bangla Krishi Sech Yojana is becoming extremely helpful for farmers, including the small and marginal ones. It was from the Krishi Mela at Guskara in Ausgram Block in East Burdwan that the handing over of raingun sprinkler machines to farmers was recently initiated and as a token move, the machines were handed over to 10 farmers. Later, many farmers applied for the same online and the process of handing them over is also going on. Most importantly, the farmers just had to pay the GST to procure a machine, which cost Rs 31,000 each.
With the state government bearing 55 percent of its cost under the Bangla Krishi Sech Yojana and the remaining 45 percent being given through other agriculture schemes, farmers need to pay nothing to buy the machines apart from the GST, which is just Rs 4,050 for a raingun sprinkler machine. The machine ensures better irrigation across a 100 bigha land, compared to that of a submersible pump that has a capacity to do the same across 40 bighas.
Besides ensuring a proper mechanism for systematic micro irrigation facility, the state Agriculture minister will also be visiting the districts that recorded unusual rainfall, from December 8 to 28. He will be holding meetings to take stock of the situation and to identify if anything more needs to be done for the farmers.
It may be mentioned that with the growing popularity of Mati Utsav at Mati Tirtha in Burdwan, farmers have approached the authorities of the state Agriculture department with a proposal to increase the number of days of the festival that is exclusively organised for farmers.
Banerjee said in this regard: "We will inform the Chief Minister about the proposal for her guidance and would act accordingly."
Mati Utsav is organised at the beginning of every year for seven days and here farmers get to learn about modern technologies related to agriculture. Krishi Utsav is at present taking place in 285 blocks and all the sub-divisions.