Describing agriculture and allied activities mainstay of State's economy, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah on Thursday called for a holistic approach to ensure integrated development of agriculture and welfare of the large population associated with it.
Chairing the 2nd meeting of Kissan Advisory Board here, the Chief Minister said that the very reason for establishment of Kissan Board in the State was to ensure placement of an effective and meaningful agriculture policy in the State involving the farmers in its formulation.
The Chief Minister said that the suggestions and expert opinion of the Members of the Board based on practical experience in the field in different climatic zones and areas need to be factored in the policy planning of the growth and development of agriculture and allied sectors in the State.
Omar Abdullah said that during the last three years his Government has focused on this sector and different initiatives were taken to give considerable boost to farm production. He said the impact of these initiatives is visible on ground and State has shown gradual increase in the production of food grains, milk, mutton and poultry.
Emphasizing the need for checking the agriculture land for non-agricultural purposes, the Chief Minister stressed on increasing per hectare production and productivity. "We have already limited agriculture land available and there is tremendous pressure on it due to constructions. The expansion in population has further added the stress", he said and underlined the need for focused attention in reducing this pressure and increasing the farm production by raising the productivity of the agriculture land.
The Chief Minister directed the Agriculture Department for construction of Kissan Bhawan in Srinagar on the same pattern as is being built in Jammu. The demand for the same was voiced by Members repeatedly during meetings and on other occasions.
Omar Abdullah asked for developing required infrastructure like controlled atmospheric storages at various places in the State to preserve the horticulture and agriculture produce besides milk products for better marketing. He also asked for working out plans for establishing milk collection centres and chilling units to help the cattle breeders to sell their produce smoothly. He also underlined the need for encouraging cultivation of vegetables, cash crops and flowers in green houses to ensure their production throughout the year.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister for Horticulture, Sham Lal Sharma, Minister for Revenue, Raman Bhalla, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Aga Syed Ruhulla, Advisors to the Chief Minsiter, Mubarak Gul and Devender Singh Rana, Vice Chairman, Kissan Advisory Board, Rachpal Singh, Legislators, Mohammad Sharief Niaz and Jahangir Mir, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, Principal Secretaries, Mohammad Iqbal Khandey and B. B. Vyas, Divisional Commissioners from Kashmir and Jammu, Administrative Secretaries and Heads of the Departments besides Members of the Board.
Vice Chairman of the Board, Rachpal Singh presented brief about the functioning of the Kissan Board and highlighted its various achievements registered since its inception.
In a PowerPoint presentation, Secretary of Kissan Board, G. N. Mir explained agenda points and reported the action taken on the decisions made in last meeting of the Board.