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Modern concepts to cope with new challenges in agri sector mooted

By Staff Correspondent
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JORHAT, June 18 - Assam Health and Family Welfare, Finance and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that futuristic thinking was the need of the hour in agriculture and its allied sectors in this fast-paced world to cope up with the new emerging challenges.

Sarma was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the year-long golden jubilee celebration of Assam Agricultural University at Borbheta here yesterday.

In the agriculture sector, the minister said that the world is moving at such a fast pace that �even while we are boasting about developing one Ranjit variety of paddy, in another part of the globe, four similar varieties have been brought out.�

Sarma urged the scientists of AAU to bring a positive and meaningful change in the agriculture sector through futuristic thinking and prepare roadmaps in this regard.

�Revenue from the oil sector is decreasing, the tea industry is not making any difference and contribution of agriculture is being marginalised with every passing day,� the Minister observed.

Sarma said that AAU had reached a plateau in terms of infrastructure and research and it was time that the University gave to society a direction by which agriculture could be revived and made more vibrant as Assam was mainly an agricultural State.

Citing the example of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka, the Minister said that these three states were well developed because all three verticals - agriculture, manufacturing and services - were contributing equally to the economy.

Painting a grim picture, Sarma said that both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors were on a downslide in the State. He informed that only revenue was being generated in the service sector, though this was not enough. The situation is such that it has resulted in having to take loans from the Centre at seven to eight per cent interest annually.

�Farmers are selling fields and are moving away from farming. Ways should be found to double their incomes through integrated farming and double-cropping to attract rural youths towards farming,� the minister said.

About the oil sector, Sarma said that no new oil fields had been discovered in recent times, and royalty from oil was decreasing.

He also said that the contribution of the tea industry to Assam�s revenue was also declining.

�Who could one day think that we who had emotionally shouted that, tez dileo tel nidiu (we will give our blood, but not our oil) during the oil blockade in the six-year-long Assam Agitation, would one day need to bring crude oil all the way from Paradip in Odisha so that NRL, a result of the Assam Accord, could function in full steam,� Sarma quipped.

He further stated that the Centre was fast-tracking a pipeline from Paradip at a cost of Rs 22,000 crore so that the refining capacity of NRL could go up and its output could be increased from three million metric tonnes to six million metric tonnes.

Referring to the Act East Policy of the Union Government, he said that there is no point in opening the doors to Myanmar or Thailand if �we have nothing to sell and became the buyers. Then there would be outflow of revenue instead of inflow as envisioned.�

The Minister later visited the Biotechnology Division of the University and inaugurated the Agriculture Museum in the university campus. The museum has been established to depict the agrarian life of the region as well as to display new and old equipment used in the agriculture sector.

Earlier, AAU Vice-Chancellor Dr KM Bujarbaruah presented the welcome address.

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Modern concepts to cope with new challenges in agri sector mooted

JORHAT, June 18 - Assam Health and Family Welfare, Finance and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that futuristic thinking was the need of the hour in agriculture and its allied sectors in this fast-paced world to cope up with the new emerging challenges.

Sarma was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the year-long golden jubilee celebration of Assam Agricultural University at Borbheta here yesterday.

In the agriculture sector, the minister said that the world is moving at such a fast pace that �even while we are boasting about developing one Ranjit variety of paddy, in another part of the globe, four similar varieties have been brought out.�

Sarma urged the scientists of AAU to bring a positive and meaningful change in the agriculture sector through futuristic thinking and prepare roadmaps in this regard.

�Revenue from the oil sector is decreasing, the tea industry is not making any difference and contribution of agriculture is being marginalised with every passing day,� the Minister observed.

Sarma said that AAU had reached a plateau in terms of infrastructure and research and it was time that the University gave to society a direction by which agriculture could be revived and made more vibrant as Assam was mainly an agricultural State.

Citing the example of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka, the Minister said that these three states were well developed because all three verticals - agriculture, manufacturing and services - were contributing equally to the economy.

Painting a grim picture, Sarma said that both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors were on a downslide in the State. He informed that only revenue was being generated in the service sector, though this was not enough. The situation is such that it has resulted in having to take loans from the Centre at seven to eight per cent interest annually.

�Farmers are selling fields and are moving away from farming. Ways should be found to double their incomes through integrated farming and double-cropping to attract rural youths towards farming,� the minister said.

About the oil sector, Sarma said that no new oil fields had been discovered in recent times, and royalty from oil was decreasing.

He also said that the contribution of the tea industry to Assam�s revenue was also declining.

�Who could one day think that we who had emotionally shouted that, tez dileo tel nidiu (we will give our blood, but not our oil) during the oil blockade in the six-year-long Assam Agitation, would one day need to bring crude oil all the way from Paradip in Odisha so that NRL, a result of the Assam Accord, could function in full steam,� Sarma quipped.

He further stated that the Centre was fast-tracking a pipeline from Paradip at a cost of Rs 22,000 crore so that the refining capacity of NRL could go up and its output could be increased from three million metric tonnes to six million metric tonnes.

Referring to the Act East Policy of the Union Government, he said that there is no point in opening the doors to Myanmar or Thailand if �we have nothing to sell and became the buyers. Then there would be outflow of revenue instead of inflow as envisioned.�

The Minister later visited the Biotechnology Division of the University and inaugurated the Agriculture Museum in the university campus. The museum has been established to depict the agrarian life of the region as well as to display new and old equipment used in the agriculture sector.

Earlier, AAU Vice-Chancellor Dr KM Bujarbaruah presented the welcome address.