Gandhinagar, Friday: Chief Minister Narendra Modi today asked the Congress-led Central Government to stop playing politics with the farmers of Gujarat.

He said the Centre's ban on cotton export in a year of bumper crop is just one of the several steps the Centre has taken to help its wheeler-dealers. It seems the Centre has taken a franchise to ruin Gujarat farmers. The farmers of Gujarat have come of age and in case their third eye opens, they might not take the Delhi durbar's maneuverings too kindly, lying down, he warned.

Mr. Modi was speaking at the fourth zonal Krishi Mela in this year's month-long Krishi Mahotsav for the Saurashtra and Kutch region at Una in Junagadh district.

Talking about the month-long Krishi Mahotsav being launched for the seventh successive year, he said that it is for the first time in the history of India that ministers, one lakh government karma yogis and agricultural scientists from the four state agricultural universities visit each and every 18,000 villages in the state, discuss their problems literally at their doorsteps.

Expressing his satisfaction at the unprecedented people's support for the mahotsav, he said it has emerged as a farmers' movement. In a major policy shift, Gujarat has freed the farmer from their dependence on power to make water available to them, through participatory management of water resources. Nature too was benevolent. There was no drought for about a decade.

Mr. Modi said the state government has taken up a massive water conservation project, introduced scientific methods of farming and promoted animal husbandry to supplement the tillers' income. The soil health card is another innovative initiative which has helped farmers chose crops for maximizing production. His next call is for value addition of crops like potato, tomato, castor and the milk.

The Chief Minister took round of the Krishi Mela, visited the Biomass Production Laboratory and dedicated to the people the Milk Chilling Plant at Judvadli. He congratulated the prize-winning progressive farmers of the region, unveiled a booklet on horticulture, handbook on taluka and distributed some kits to farmers.

Agriculture Minister Dileepbhai Sanghani said the Krishi Mahotsav is the result of Gujarat Government foresighted policies. The state decided to divide one agricultural university into four for research specific to different agro-climatic zones. The mahotsav is now drawing attention of other states, too.

Mr. Purshottam Rupala, Member of Rajya Sabha recalled that the state had resolved to double the income from agriculture and has achieved the goal many times over. The state government's other laudable efforts include modernizing the marketing yards. The campaign for girls education, increasing enrolment in schools and reduce dropout ratio has brought about changes in the world of education. The industrial peace in the state is attracting investors from abroad.

BJP State Unit President R. C. Faldu said that Gujarat is undergoing an all round development under the leadership of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Junagadh Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor Dr N.C. Patel in his welcome address said the Krishi Mahotsav being held in Gujarat has shown a new way to the world to reach out to the farmers, far and wide.

Prominent among others present on the occasion included Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala, Ministers of State Kanubhai Bhalala and Vasanbhai Ahir, Parliamentary Secretaries L. T. Rajani, State Planning Board Chairman Bhupendrasinh Chudasma, MP Dinubhai Solanki and Naranbhai Kachhadia, MLAs of the region, Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Lakshmi Narayan, Maharashtra's MLA Prakash Mehta, Principal Agriculture Secretary R.K. Tripathy, Animal Husbandry Secretary Rajivkumar Gupta, District Collector A.M. Parmar, DDO Diviben Baraiya, presidents of taluka panchayats, Gujarat Agro-Industries Chairman Mansukhbhai Mandviya and Vice-Chancellors of different agriculture universities.

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