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Amritsar

Posted at: Feb 13, 2018, 1:39 AM; last updated: Feb 13, 2018, 1:39 AM (IST)

Horticulture institute a distant dream

Neeraj Bagga

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 12

The proposed Union government-sponsored Post Graduate Institute of Excellence in Horticulture here has not seen much progress even two years after its announcement.

The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) is to set up a mixed fruit orchard over 100 acres of land in Attari for the institute for research purposes, another 50-acre orchard in Abohar and an administrative block (10-acre) in Dhaul Kalan village in Amritsar.

Farmers are perturbed over the indifferent approach of the government.

Responding to an RTI query of Naresh Johar, ICAR Under Secretary (Horticulture Science) Praveen Kumar Srivastava said, “Efforts to get the land transferred are underway. Civil work can be initiated only after that.”

He wondered that as per the information received, the master plan of the proposed building was yet to be finalised to enable the ICAR to know the total funds required.

A farmer leader, Sarwan Singh Pandher, said, “The apathy of the government can be gauged from the fact that the announcement for the institute was made by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in 2015-2016. Two years have elapsed and the only significant step so far is the clearance by Chief Minister’s office for the allotment of land at Dhaul Kalan village in July.”

He said the state required crop diversification as the wheat-paddy cycle had ruined the fertility of the land besides depleting the groundwater. He said the government was just doing lip service on crop diversification. No concrete step has been taken to assist an institute, he said.

The proposed institute is expected to attract investments in various allied fields, generating job opportunities in the border district. Farmers are of the view that the government shouldn’t resort to dilly-dallying over such projects.

Deputy Commissioner KS Sangha said a resolution was forwarded to the government after identifying a piece of land in Dhaul Kalan village, about 6 km from Guru Nanak Dev University in the city. He said the state government would get the land from the village panchayat on lease for a long duration.

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