Manohar Khattar defends 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat' scheme

Haryana CM Manohar Khattar defends 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat' scheme as opposition criticises it

Haryana CM Manohar Khattar.

Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar Tuesday defended the recently-launched 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat' crop diversification scheme, saying every drop of water is precious and his government is making policies to save it for future generations.

Suggestions and feedback are being sought from farmers to improve these policies and bring good water conservation results, he said.

Opposition Congress has opposed the scheme, with party's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala saying that there was a conspiracy to eventually stop the procurement of paddy at Minimum Support Price (MSP) by discouraging a large number of farmers from cultivating it.

Some farmers had also staged a tractor march in Fatehabad district against the scheme and demanded that peasants should have the choice to decide what they have to sow.

Interacting with farmers during his visit to Kurukshetra, Khattar said that at present, the groundwater level has reached below 40 meters in many blocks in the state, which is a matter of concern.

The government has formulated 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat Yojana' under crop diversification to conserve water, he told the farmers.

Under this scheme, Pipli, Shahabad, Babain and Ismailabad blocks of Kurukshetra district have been included, as the groundwater level in these blocks has gone below by more than 40 meters, he said.

Along with this, Ratia block of Fatehabad district, Siwan and Guhla of Kaithal district and Sirsa block of Sirsa district are also included in this scheme.

"The situation of groundwater level in these blocks is very worrisome, farmers are being motivated to save water and for this farmers would have to move towards crop diversification,” he added. 

Each grain of these crops sown under crop diversification would be procured on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) by the state government and an incentive of Rs 7,000 per acre would also be given for switching over from the water-guzzling paddy. Apart from this, many other facilities would be given to the farmers, he added.

The Chief Minister said that to save water, the government had launched 'Jal Hi Jeevan Yojana' last year, but this year, while improving this scheme further, 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat Yojana' has been implemented.

"Before formulating 'Mera Pani Meri Virasat Yojana' a lot of brainstorming was done with farmers, scientists, MLAs and other people associated with the government. This scheme would be very beneficial for the coming generations as it would help conserve water," he added.

He also said that under this scheme, small farmers having one to two acres of land would also get some added incentives.

"The goal of everyone is to save water, extract less groundwater and improve the groundwater level. Everyone needs to think and brainstorm on this serious subject,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the state government would implement the viable suggestions and would try to save every drop of water.

Surjewala had earlier slammed the crop diversification scheme, saying “under the new autocratic order and scheme brought out by Khattar government, they now want farmers in 19 blocks in total to not cultivate paddy at all and punish the peasants by denying them MSP for paddy in case they still choose to grow this crop”.

"They also want to deny farmers in 26 other blocks the right to grow paddy on Panchayati land. This is despite the fact that the state government's another (crop diversification scheme) ''Jal hi Jeevan Hai'' scheme, launched last year, was surreptitiously closed and put under the table,” the Congress leader had claimed.

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