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Fresh look at agriculture

Patna, July 8: There is a need to change the outlook towards agriculture to prevent a Punjab-like disaster in Bihar, said deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi today.

He was addressing a national-level seminar organised by GM Free Bihar Movement on the topic “Green revolution: Eastern India on Punjab’s disastrous path” at AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies.

Modi said one should not pursue only such developmental goals that have adverse side effects.

“We are not going to adopt such developmental goals that lead to farmers committing suicide, as we have seen in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and other states,” Modi said.

The deputy chief minister claimed that there has been discussion on starting a second green revolution in east India, especially Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa

“The green revolution in Bihar will not follow the pattern of Punjab and Haryana, where the fertility of land had come down drastically because of excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides,” said Modi.

The green revolution in eastern India was launched last year by the Union government with a Rs 400-crore special component under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. Under the plan, state governments would increase the use of hybrid seeds in rice and maize cultivation. They would also tap the groundwater potential of places along with the promotion of agro chemicals to improve productivity of rice and wheat in the second green revolution.

The deputy chief minister also said the second green revolution should maintain a right balance between the environment and development of farmers.

Around 78 delegates from various parts of country have taken part in the two-day workshop on how states like Punjab that experienced the first green revolution are reeling under severe environmental degradation.

Umendra Dutt, a delegate of Kheti Virasat Mission, Punjab, shared some facts about the green revolution.

Dutt said: “The side effects of the green revolution in Punjab can be gauged from the fact that the state is turning into the cancer capital of the country because of excessive use of fertilisers and chemicals. These have made food products toxic.”

Dutt said in early 1980s, the consumption of fertilisers in Punjab was around 10kg/acre of land. This has now increased to around 250kg to 300kg of fertilisers per acre.

The excessive use of fertilisers has not only depleted the fertility of soil but has made the food products toxic.

Food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak said the need of the hour was to protect seed sovereignty. Farmers should not become too dependent on private seed corporations.

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