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Kalam thrilled by Gujarat's high growth

Last updated on: February 11, 2011 19:28 IST

Kalam thrilled by Gujarat's high growth

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Sharat Pradhan in Basti, Uttar Pradesh

After Deoband Darul Uloom chief Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi, it is now India's missile man and former President A P J Abdul Kalam who has showered praise on the high agricultural growth that Gujarat has witnessed over the past five to six years.

"Gujarat registered a sustained agricultural growth of 7 to 9 per cent over the past six years which was far ahead of the country's national average growth of just about 2.5 to 3 per cent," Kalam told a large gathering of farmers invited to a meet organised under the auspices of Raja Lakshmeshwar Singh Society for Education, Welfare and Awareness, in memory of the erstwhile ruler of the princely state of Basti, Uttar Pradesh.

"On making enquiries from researchers at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, where a case study had been carried out on this issue, I was told that the unparalleled growth rate was achieved by the Gujarat government through schemes under public-private partnership and initiation of several innovative programmes."

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Image: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam.

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Describing the measures undertaken by the Gujarat government as unique, he said, "Firstly, they created a dedicated power grid for agriculture to ensure uninterrupted 24 hour supply to the rural areas, where revolutionary steps were taken to improve upon the irrigation system whereby 20,000 hectares of arid land was turned into a rich
agriculture area."

He said, "A special 'one pond per farmer' scheme brought about an appreciable increase in the water table by 3-12 metres and new avenues were created to link productivity with income through a sustainable agro-industrial policy."

Kalam sought to make it loud and clear, "The message I wish to convey is that when there is committed leadership with a vision, which is able to bring all the stake holders together to realise the mission with unity of minds and system oriented approach to solve the issues even in agriculture, the productivity increase in food production can be
achieved."

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Kalam thrilled by Gujarat's high growth

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Recalling his meeting with 6,000 farmers during his days at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2006, he said, "In that meet, farmers gave me their experience on some aspects of value addition for their produce.

Farmers need assured quality of seeds and cost effective pesticides and fertilisers and they also need to be facilitated with water bodies in their region, de-silted and well connected."

Earlier, while felicitating some achievers from this region, who, while taking Kalam as their role model, had chosen to give up their professional careers in far off lands to return to their roots and contribute towards making a difference to the soil where they were born and bred.

Answering questions at an interactive session later, Kalam suggested, "The best way to rid this country of corruption that was eating into our roots was to motivate young children to launch a movement by curbing their own parents from indulging in corrupt practices."

He went on to ask, "How many of the parents will listen to their children if they were asked to do so. Please raise your hands."

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Other than farmers, the event was attended by people from different walks of life including teachers, lawyers and a large number of girl students drawn from a local institution started by Abdul Hakim to promote literacy among females in this badly neglected and poverty-ridden backward part of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Hakim was among
those felicitated today.

Among the others awarded by the former President were Ashutosh Pal, who left a comfortable life in the US to take up fisheries in his village in Basti; Deependra Singh, who made a success story by setting up the first ethnic resort in Lord Buddha's land - Kapilvastu and Mohammad Latif Ansari, who literally dug out his native village buried years ago and from where his grandfather had escaped to Burma after a ruthless massacre carried out by the British against local weavers.

Raja Ram Chaudhary was given the award posthumously for his invaluable contribution towards empowerment of farmers.



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