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‘Crop diversification has increased area under horticulture in Punjab’


Chandigarh: With the Punjab government encouraging farmers to opt for crop diversification to take them away from wheat-paddy cultivation, the area under horticulture crops in the agrarian state has increased by 68 percent in the past decade, an official said on Sunday.

Speaking on the issue, the horticulture department spokesman said:

Diversification has shown quantitative change(s) in Punjab as the area under horticultural crops has increased by 68 percent during 2004-05 to 2014-15.

While the total area under horticultural crops went up from 2.1 lakh hectares in 2004-05 to 3.11 lakh hectares in 2014-15, the percentage of the horticultural area to total cropped area increased from 2.78 to 3.95 percent during this period.

The 10-year-long success story of horticulture has also led to an increase in the GDP share of horticultural produce to agricultural produce from 6.44 percent in 2004-05 to 10.15 percent in 2014-15, he pointed out.

Production of horticulture crops has gone up from 33.84 lakh metric tonnes (MT) in 2004-05 to 59 lakh MT in 2014-15. Horticultural productivity has gone up by nearly three lakh MT per hectare in this period.

Punjab’s crop diversification program has produced spectacular results and the agrarian state is leading the country in horticulture. Breaking the vicious circle of paddy-wheat production, farmers of the state have yielded a 74 percent increase in production, a 48 percent increase in area and 18 percent more productivity of horticultural crops for the food bowl of the country, said the spokesman.

Occupying only 1.54 percent of the total geographical area of the country, Punjab accounts for about 25 percent of India’s total cropped area under horticulture.

The Punjab horticulture department has been successful in bringing 77,751 hectares of area under fruit plantation in the state.

The fruits being grown in Punjab include kinnow, sweet orange, lime, lemon, mango, litchi, guava, pear, peach, plum, grapes, amla, and banana.

“The Punjab government has established citrus estates and facilities such as leaf and soil testing laboratory, latest spraying and pruning equipment, etc. are being provided to the farmers, which help in reducing the cost of production,” the spokesman said.

(Inputs from IANS)



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Anti-Punjab Conspiracy: Apologise to Punjabis for Branding them as Drug Addicts, Demands Akali Dal to Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal

A survey by PGIMER had revealed that drugs abuse in Punjab was just around one per cent of the 2.8 crore population in the state

Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of Akali Dal in Punjab. Wikimedia

Chandigarh, Sep 11, 2017: Punjab’s opposition Akali Dal on Sunday said that latest findings of PGIMER survey listing drug addiction in the state at less than a per cent had yet again nailed the “anti-Punjab conspiracy” of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and demanded they apologise to the people.

“The latest comprehensive survey which was carried out in all 22 districts as well as 22 villages in each district, had exposed the anti-Punjab conspiracy of Rahul Gandhi and his team as well as that of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal,” SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a statement here.

“Both leaders and their parties should now tell Punjabis why they branded them as drug addicts and tender an unconditional apology to the people of the state.”

Claiming that the “entire conspiracy was hatched to counter the development narrative of the previous SAD-BJP government”, Badal said though the Congress had succeeded in its goal of achieving power in Punjab, it had caused incalculable damage to its people and its economy.

“Both Congress and AAP played with the lives of the youth and made them virtually unhireable. The image distortion also dented the image of Punjab and Punjabis worldwide,” he said.

Highlighting Rahul Gandhi’s “nefarious role in this sordid chapter of Punjab politics”, Badal said he was “definitely the villain-in-chief”.

“Rahul uttered an utter lie to reap political mileage for his flagging party by claiming in October 2012 at a NSUI function in Chandigarh that 70 per cent of the state’s youth were drug addicts.

“This despite the fact that he knew well that he was reading out a sample survey of drug addicts of which youth formed a big share,” he said.

“During the Punjab assembly campaign this year, he insisted he was speaking the truth and even had the gall to ask Punjabis to admit they were drug addicts. Such behaviour coming from the chosen scion of the Gandhi dynasty is shameful,” he added.

A survey done by a team of doctors and researchers of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research had revealed that drugs abuse in Punjab was just around one per cent of the 2.8 crore population in the state.

Badal said that Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal and “his gang of outsiders had also tried to doom the future of the youth by claiming 40 lakh youth were drug addicts”.

“The PGIMER report puts the entire number of addicts in the state at 2.7 lakh. Other reports, included that conducted by AIIMS, had come out with even lower figures than this,” he added.

A detailed survey by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi had put the drug addiction at 0.84 per cent.

“The Punjab government also got a dope test conducted on 3.76 lakh youth who presented themselves for police recruitment. The test, which was conducted by the Baba Farid Health Sciences University, saw only 1.27 per cent candidates testing positive,” Badal said, citing a survey done during the Akali government last year. (IANS)