Mumbai: In the backdrop of farmers’ strike scheduled to begin from June 1, the Maharashtra cabinet has decided to promote allied agro industries. The cabinet has also taken the decision to provide sufficient electricity according to individual need of farmers.
The cabinet chaired by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday approved two new schemes for the welfare of farmers which will be allotted under the Chief Minister’s Agricultural and Food Process Scheme and the Chief Minister’s Solar Agriculture Feeder Scheme.
There is usually a high amount of load shedding in rural areas and farmers get power for only six hours to use the irrigation pumps, mostly during night time.
Chandrashekhar Bawankule, minister for energy, said that under the Chief Minister Solar Agriculture Feeder Scheme, the farmers will get assured power supply at affordable rates during daytime. He argued that by converting agriculture power feeders to solar power feeders it will help the government to save conventional power.
Bawankule said the government will give state-owned land on 30-year lease on a nominal lease rent of Re 1. The scheme will be implemented by state power generating utility ‘Mahagenco’ on the lines of Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
Bawankule added the government intends to supply power to agriculture lift irrigation schemes. A committee under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary (Energy) shall be set up for ensuring effective implementation of the scheme.
Under the Chief Minister Agro and Food Process Scheme, farmers can install high-end food processing unit of foods, oil seeds and other agricultural produce. Processing unit for fruits and vegetables will be given priority.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said it will help value addition in agricultural produce, improve quality and to promote small and medium food processing industry in rural area. State will make provision of Rs 50 crore for this scheme every year for five years.
Meanwhile, farmers from Puntamba who had threatened to go on strike from June 1 met Fadnavis on Tuesday at ‘Varsha’, the official residence of chief minister. Fadnavis assured them to resolve issues of farmers and appeal to withdraw proposed strike.