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Centre nod to agro research centre

March 3: Knowledge and technology will be the new scythe and spade for Hailakandi farmers as the district readies to be the next agriculture research destination of the state.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, under the Union agriculture ministry, has just given its nod to set up the first agriculture research centre at Hailakandi to conduct extensive studies on crop production in low-lying, flood-prone zones.

Though the Regional Agriculture Research Station near Karimganj and the Agriculture University in Jorhat have long been researching on hybrid deeds and farming methods, the new centre is expected to take experimental studies a step further.

The idea of setting up the agriculture research centre was first mooted by minister Pramila Rani Brahma to the Centre in 2006.

Delhi granted the outlay of the project after being assured land acquisition would not be a hindrance.

The state government immediately began scouting for a plot for the research centre, which is likely to cost Rs 24 crore. The district administration, in fact, has arranged for 15 hectares in Serispore tea garden near the district headquarters town of Hailakandi.

Eager to ensure a smooth transfer of land to the Union agriculture ministry, the administration has shifted 15 peasant families — all of them illegal settlers — with the promise of building houses for them under the Indira Awas Yojana.

Since rice is the staple food of the Northeast, most of the research will be on paddy.

Over 40 rice varieties had already been evolved separately by the both Assam Agriculture University and the Regional Agricultural Research Station.

These have been grown on farmlands and tested for resistance to diseases and pests. The new research centre will be expected add to the hybrid varieties and farming techniques.

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