Special budget allocation for Pani Panchayat: CM

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has decided to make a special allocation for Pani Panchayat in the budget for the 2016-17 fiscal, said chief minister Naveen Patnaik here on Saturday.

“Pani Panchayat is a very important programme for empowerment of our farmers. It has been working successfully. We will further strengthen it through expansion of activity and capacity building of our farmers,” Patnaik said at the concluding ceremony of the Pani Panchayat fortnight at the Odisha University of Agriculture Technology ( OUAT) premises here.

Claiming that Pani Panchayat is a popular scheme for the farmers of Odisha, the chief minister said since the launch of the scheme in 2002, there has been a sea change in water management in the state. The scheme has not only played an important role in the empowerment of farmers, productivity had also increased substantially due to crop diversification as the farmers have been able to grow diverse crops due to availability of water round the clock.

Reiterating that the state government had given more emphasis on agriculture, Patnaik said his government had made special budget provision for the development of the agriculture sector and implemented a number of schemes for the welfare of the farmers.

“For the development of agriculture and irrigation, the state government has increased the budget allocation to Rs 1000 crore and Rs 500 crore for Water Resources and Agriculture departments respectively,” he added.

He also informed that the state government had entrusted the management of minor irrigation systems to the farmers, which will continue in the coming days.

Urging the farmers to make the Pani Panchayat a successful scheme, the chief minister told them to work hard to further expand the network to make agriculture a profitable profession for them.