Modi inaugurates Saryu canal project in UP, exhorts farmers to consider natural farming
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday exhorted farmers to adopt natural farming saying it will help not only save water but also produce better crops, and invited them to join a mega programme on it on December 16 as it would prove beneficial to them.
Modi was addressing a rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh's Balrampur after inaugurating the Saryu Canal National Project, which will meet the irrigation needs of over 14 lakh hectares of land and benefit about 29 lakh farmers.
Modi said a big event on natural farming is being organised on December 16 and requested farmers across the country to connect with it either through TV or Krishi Vijyan Kendras.
Noting that Padma awardee Subhash Palekar of Maharashtra has initiated the idea of zero budget natural farming, Modi said it saves earth and water and the crop produced through it is also better.
The prime minister also took a jibe at Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav who has often claimed that the works of his government are being projected as the achievements of the BJP government, saying that he was waiting if anyone will claim the credit for the Saryu Canal National Project.
''When I started from Delhi, I was waiting for someone to say that he had cut the ribbon of this project and started this scheme. This is the habit of some people, maybe in their childhood they had cut its ribbon,'' he said, without taking any names.
''For some people cutting ribbon is the priority while for us completing schemes in time is the priority,'' he said.
The SP chief who was at the helm before the BJP government took over in 2017 has been criticising the Yogi government for claiming credit for the works done by his government.
In a tweet after PM Modi inaugurated the Saryu project in Balrampur, Yadav said, ''There are basically two types of people in the world, some who really work and some who appropriate others' work.'' ''This is the difference between the government of the SP and today's 'kainchijivi' (ribbon cutting) government. That's why in the 2022 elections, the BJP is going to be completely wiped out,'' Yadav said in another tweet.
According to official sources, the work on the Saryu project started in 1978 but due to lack of continuity of budgetary support, interdepartmental coordination and adequate monitoring, it got delayed and was not completed even after nearly four decades.
Speaking about the unnecessary delay in the project, Modi said, ''Most painful is the waste and misuse of the country's money, time and resources and its humiliation. This thinking is the biggest hurdle in the balanced development of the country and this thinking has also stalled the Saryu Nahar project.'' The completion of the Saryu canal project is an example that if ''soch imandar, kaam damdaar'' (honest thinking, solid work), he said, referring to the BJP's slogan for the Uttar Pradesh polls.
The waters of Ghaghra, Saryu, Rapti, Baanganga and Rohin will bring a new phase of prosperity in the region, he said.
All the citizens of the country should understand that when the work on this project was started its cost was under Rs 100 crore and now it is about Rs 10,000 crore. ''This money was your hard-earned money,'' he told the gathering.
''Every single rupee of your hard-earned money should have been properly used in time. Those who didn't do this aren't they your 'gunehgar' (sinner)? Will you not punish them? The country has to pay 100 times more the price due to the laxity of previous governments,'' he said, adding ''we have done more work in the Saryu canal project than what has been done in five decades.'' He also said that his government is realising decades-old dreams through the Ken-Betwa link project approved by the union cabinet, on which Rs 45,000 crore will be spent for ending water scarcity of Bundelkhand.
Stressing his government's commitment for the welfare of farmers, he said after independence this is the first government which is taking care of small farmers by connecting them with government benefits.
The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, alternative income streams in fishery, dairy and bee culture and opportunities in ethanol are some of the steps being taken. In the last four and half years, ethanol worth Rs 12,000 crore has been purchased from Uttar Pradesh itself, the prime minister said.
Paying tributes to Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat who died in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu along with his wife and 11 other personnel, Modi said his demise is a great loss to the nation.
''The death of India's first Chief of Defence Staff is a huge loss for every patriot of the country. The entire country witnessed General Rawat's efforts in making the forces 'atmanirbhar' (self-reliant),'' he said and prayed for early recovery of the lone survivor, IAF Group Captain Varun Singh who was born in Deoria in Uttar Pradesh.
''Even while bearing this pain, the country will not pause, we will work harder to face the challenges from both inside and outside the country,'' he said.
In the beginning of his speech, Modi referred to Yogi Adityanath as an energetic, dedicated and popular chief minister, and said that previous governments used to protect mafia, but now the Yogi government is carrying out a campaign to clear the state of mafia and people are saying ''farq saaf hai'' (difference is clear).
''Daughters of UP used to think twice before moving out of their homes earlier. Now criminals think twice before committing a crime, earlier daughters used to sit in homes but now the criminals are sitting inside jails in fear,'' he said.
''Earlier illegal occupation of land by the mafia was the norm but now Yogiji is running bulldozer over such encroachments,'' he said.
The project inaugurated in Balrampur is in a series of developmental works launched by the BJP government in Purvanchal that accounts for nearly 160 assembly seats out of 403 in Uttar Pradesh that goes to polls early next year.