Govt committed to making farmers in Maha self-reliant: Uddhav

(Eds: Adding quotes) Pune, Jan 16 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said his government was committed to making farmers in the state self-reliant.

He also said that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has come to power in the state at the 'right time'.

Thackeray was speaking at the inauguration of a three-day agro exhibition organised by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra at Baramati, the home turf of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

It was Thackeray's maiden visit to Baramati after assuming charge as the chief minister of the state. He reached the venue of the event in a battery-operated vehicle with Sharad Pawar sitting next to him.

In his speech, he lauded the Krishi Vigyan Kendra for its innovative research in agriculture.

'Innovative research is being carried out at this centre, including in the field of drip irrigation, wherein water slowly reaches the roots of the crops. In a similar way, we will have to ensure that the research in agriculture percolates not only to other parts of the state, but also across the country,' he said.

Thackeray said that many times farmers have to face losses due to droughts and hailstorms.

'Panchanamas (assessments) are conducted. Sometimes farmers get compensation, sometimes not. But there is a need to make farmers in the state self-reliant and the government will certainly do it. It is the priority of the government and we have already decided it. The task is a bit difficult, which is why we need people's blessings,' he said.

The chief minister said the MVA government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress has come to power in the state at the right time.

'Baramati MP Supriya Sule asked me whether I have a wrist-watch shop. I said no, but I told her that I have a partner who is a 'ghadyalwala',' he said referring to Sharad Pawar, whose party's poll symbol is a wall clock.

'For anything good to happen, right time has to come.

I feel a good time has come...we have got the power in Maharashtra at the right time,' he said.

He added that a farmer came up with a different variety of rice and when he was asked its name, he looked at his wristwatch and named it HMT (once a popular watch company in India).

According to Thackeray, the world is changing rapidly as new technologies and innovations are appearing on the scene.

'While all the technological advancements are coming, a question arises that if farmers, who work tirelessly, remain hungry despite all this, then what is the use of such innovations?' he asked.

'Agriculture is our traditional business. In fact, India is an agrarian country. So if any calamity befalls on the agriculture community or if it is faced with any challenge, we cannot afford to lose our strength to fight it...,' he said.

'With the innovative research in agriculture, the government is committed to making the state 'sujlam and suflam',' he said.

Bollywood actor Aamir Khan was also present at the event. PTI SPK NP NP