Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today launched a pilot project to provide 500 tractors and 13 other types of farm machinery to 50,400 marginal tribal farmers in the state on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

Speaking at a function at the Mahatma Mandir auditorium here to mark the occasion, Mr. Modi said the project is envisaged for economic empowerment of poor farmers tilling limited land in the state’s tribal belt extending from Ambaji in the north to Umargaon in the south.

He said the Gujarat Government has entered into an agreement with Messrs John Diri of the US under the Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojna. Farm mechanization would save the womenfolk from the drudgery to invest their energy for other activities, he said.

Mr. Modi said that while one tractor would suffice for 100 acres of farmland, plans are afoot to train local youth tractor operation and mechanics. Four NGOs have been set up in the tribal belt for smooth implementation of the project. At the end of five years, the tractors would be handed over to the Farmers Self-Help Groups free-of-cost.

He wished the pilot project started in Gujarat is replicated in the Third World countries. He pointed out that a somewhat similar project in the central Gujarat has turned several youth accomplished motor mechanic.

Mr. Samuel Alan of the US firm said his company has taken up this scientific project responding to the call of the Chief Minister for the corporate world to take up social responsibility.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Minister of State for Tribal Welfare Jashwantsinh Bhabhor, Parliamentary Secretary Harshadbhai Vasava and Development Commissioner A.M. Tiwari among others.

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