State Agriculture minister Purnendu Basu said on Monday that the production of pulses and oil seeds have gone up considerably since 2011 after the Trinamool Congress government led by Mamata Banerjee came to power. Responding to a query from Congress MLA Asit Mitra on the plans of the state government to augment the production of pulses and oil seeds, Basu said that the production of pulses have risen to 3.36 lakh metric tonne in the year 2016-17 up from 1.76 lakh MT in 2010-11, while oil seed production has increased to 9.12 lakh MT from 7.03 lakh MT in 2010-11.
Admitting that the state still has to export pulses to meet the demand of the state, Basu said that the government will take another three to four years to become self-reliant in the production of pulses. "1.97 lakh hectare land was used for cultivation of pulses in the year 2010-11 but we have increased the same to 3.50 lakh hectare. In case of oil seeds, the land for cultivation has gone up from 6.7 lakh hectare in 10-11 to 9.12 in 16-17," he added.
He, however, admitted that the state production of oil seeds is much lower than what is needed to meet the demand of the state's population. "In the year 2016-17, we needed 17 lakh MT of oil seeds but we produced 9.12 lakh MT," he said.
The state government has already made it clear that conversion of any agricultural land for other purposes will require the approval at the state level. "Our stand is very clear. Agricultural land should not be converted for other purposes in an indiscriminate manner. There is still 15,923 hectare of land that can be converted for agricultural purpose out of a total land of 86,84,113 hectare that is available in the state," Basu said.
Speaking about the production of paddy, the minister said that the state is presently number one in paddy production and produced 1,60,70,000 MT of paddy in 16-17 fiscal.