Bangalore: DVS Regime Scores Big by Signing MoUs Worth Rs 53K Cr at Agri Summit
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Dec 1: Undaunted by the protests from farmers and their organisations, the D V Sadananda Gowda ministry scored big by going ahead with the two-day maiden global agribusiness and food processing summit which opened in Bangalore on Thursday by signing memoranda of understanding (MoUs) worth over an impressive Rs 53,000 crore investment in agriculture and allied sectors.
As many as 31 companies came forward to sign agreements were inked at the state’s maiden global agribusiness and food processing summit here in the presence of Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda as Karnataka sought to showcase opportunities in the areas.
However, Congress Opposition leader in the Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah stayed away from the inaugural session. With the absence of central leaders, who were supposed to attend the inaugural session, the State Cabinet ministers shared the dais with Chief Minister.
Even State’s Home and Transport Minister R Ashok, Cooperation and Agriculture Marketing Minister Laxman Savadi and MP K Kasturirangan too remained absent. The reason for their absence was not immediately known.
Ministers V S Acharya, S A Ravindranath, Revu Naik Belamagi, Anand Asnotikar, Basavaraj Bommai, C C Patil, B N Bache Gowda, Murugesh Nirani, C P Yogeshwar and Renukacharya were present. Chief Secretary S V Ranganath and officials from the Agriculture Department too were present.
31 Companies Signed MoUs
Among the major investments include those from big-ticket companies like Harold Doan and Associates, Srei Infrastructure Finance (Rs 15,000 crore each), Wadhwan Mega Infrastructure (Rs 10,000 crore), Welspun Infratech (Rs 5000 crore) and MARG Limited (Rs 4,000 crore).
The 31 companies, which signed the MoUs, proposed to invest in different areas, including agribusiness and post—harvest infrastructure, agro industrial clusters, floriculture, horticulture and food processing to the tune of Rs 53,724.5 crore.
In addition, it was announced that State Bank of India has agreed to finance up to Rs 40,000 crore for agribusiness projects in the state.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd vice chairman Anand Mahindra was the guest of honour at the hour-long opening session attended by about 1,000 delegates.
France, Israel and the Netherlands are among the leading countries participating in the summit to showcase their farming technologies and products.
“As agriculture and farmers’ welfare are main priorities of our government, the agri-business summit is intended to attract domestic and overseas investments in the farm sector and food processing,” the Chief Minister said in his presidential address.
In the run—up to the summit, the state government has come out with an agriculture business development policy to attract investments in the sector, which accounts for 16 per cent of the state’s gross domestic product.
“The main objective of the summit is to ensure sustainable growth in the sector with avenues to generate more income to the farming community through productivity, access to markets and remunerative prices,” Gowda observed.
“We are the first state in the country to have a separate budget for the agriculture sector with an outlay of Rs.17,857 crore in this fiscal (2011-12). About Rs 1,000 crore has been earmarked for providing Rs 10,000 each to one million farmers to rejuvenate their lands,” he asserted.
The Chief Minister explained that the new policy envisages comprehensive development of agriculture and allied sectors, extending linkages between agriculture and industries across the state and procuring latest technology and capital from domestic and overseas investors in the sector.
Agriculture Sector to be made Profitable
“We are committed to make the agriculture sector a profitable occupation by attracting private investment through the summit,” the Chief Minister said driving home the point that Karnataka was one of the few states in the country which escaped soil deterioration due to natural interventions and judicious use of land.
The state has rich soil nutrients, including manganese, potassium, sulphur and nitrogen, he explained.
At the inaugural function, farmers raised slogans against the two-day meet alleging thst pledging of thousands of acres of arable land to multinational and private companies by the government and highlighted the “adverse impact” on their entry into the farm sector.
Trying to allay the fears of the farmers, the Chief Minister said Karnataka had a record agriculture production of 139 million tonnes during 2010-11 and the State was bestowed with the Krishi Karman Award for the highest production of coarse cereals by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
''This achievement is despite the fact that around 70% of the State of the cultivated area is rainfed,” he said pointing out that many schemes launched in the State as well as through the support of the Government of India had helped in achieving a growth rate of 6 percent during the last year.
Police Detain Raitha Sangha Activists
The police detained a group of activists of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) for shouting anti-State Government slogans against holding the Global Agribusiness and Food Processing Summit-2011 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre.
As soon the inaugural programme commenced, a group of five to six KRSS activists shouted slogans and threw papers at the delegates at the venue. Immediately, the police detained activists and taken them out of the hall.
Tight police security was maintained at the entrance of the BIEC as well as at the inaugural session hall. The police stopped farmers from entering into the venue to prevent any untoward incidents.