Modi’s green dream that was never quite realised

Gandhinagar, October 02 IT was expected to be the harbinger of the second green revolution in the state, but the Gujarat Green Revolution Company (GGRC) — a special purpose vehicle for the implementation of micro irrigation schemes — has failed to meet its own target year after year, since its inception in 2005.

“Against a physical target of covering 1,30,165 hectares, the company has only achieved 58,331 hectares over the last three years. This is only 44.81 per cent of its own benchmark,” said farmer activist Kanu Patel.

Even as GGRC officials emphatically maintain that good monsoons in the last three years have taken away the farmers from the costlier drip (there is no water shortage), the detractors say it’s a costly scheme, ill-implemented.
“In the first year, the company had some teething troubles. But subsequently, it was good monsoons that adversely affected the demand for drip. It is tough educating farmers on the benefits of the system when there is no water shortage,” says GGRC MD Shyamal Tikadar.

Having obtained the information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, farmer activist Kanu Patel, who also heads the Gujarat Krushi Vij Grahak Suraksha Sangh, shows it as a classic case of the Modi Government’s penchant for hollow publicity.

A second green revolution through drip irrigation has been Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s pet themes, and the CM never tires of mentioning during his numerous farmer rallies that his government has provided Rs 1,500 crore for drip irrigation. And even as it got a mention in Finance Minister Vajubhai Vala’s Budget speech this year — setting a target of one lakh hectares — figures obtained by Patel show the government has not been able to provide funds, or manage the scheme on a priority basis.

“The same information also says that while the government targeted spending Rs 498 crore during the period, it only managed to allocate Rs 233.82 crore — a mere 46.93 per cent of the target. As if this is not enough, the actual disbursal was a measly Rs 178.15 crore!” says Patel.
Patel alleges that GGRC has failed because of its cumbersome procedures and costs that favour rich farmers. “A poor farmer needs to make more than 100 signatures on various farms to procure funding. More importantly, the government has failed to provide promised money to the company,” he says. GGRC, however, refutes the charge, claiming that for the last two years, the number of small and marginal farmers as defined by the banks is over 70 per cent.

Modi’s green dream that was never quite realised