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May 21, 2012 at 01:39am IST

Agriculture, industry thriving side by side in Gujarat: Modi

Ahmedabad: Outlining various facets of development in Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the state has struck a balance between agricultural and industrial growth.

"At a time when India's agriculture is not growing beyond 3 per cent, Gujarat's agriculture is growing at 11 per cent, despite the fact that unlike the rest of the country, the state is not blessed with perennial rivers," Modi said addressing NRIs across 12 cities in the US through a video-conferencing session.

The Chief Minister said Gujarat has achieved "balanced growth" in sectors like agriculture, industry and services. Speaking about agricultural growth, Modi told the overseas audience that the agricultural income has shot up to Rs 96,000 crore as compared to Rs 14,700 crore a decade ago, with farmers being the major beneficiaries.

Agriculture, industry thriving side by side in Guj: Modi

This is for the first time that agriculture and industry are thriving side by side on such a vast scale, Modi asserted.

"From 108 lakh hectares of agriculture land in 2001, Gujarat now has 135 lakh hectares," Modi said adding that he would not let the agriculture land get reduced.

This is for the first time that agriculture and industry are thriving side by side on such a vast scale, he asserted.

Modi told them that Gujarat's milk production has risen by 68 per cent and the state is taking great strides in cotton production. In 2001, Gujarat produced 23 lakh bales of cotton, but today the figure stands at 1.23 crore bales (one bale equals 170 kg).

Modi said Gujarat was surging ahead in the manufacturing sector as well and was all set to turn into Asia's auto-hub. Even American auto giant Ford is coming to Gujarat, he said.

While addressing the gathering, he pointed out that American companies had invested Rs 15,000 crore in Gujarat and Canada had been working with the state in close coordination for quite some time.

Modi invited the audience to visit the state during the upcoming 2013 'Vibrant Gujarat' Summit and the Uttarayan festivities.

Modi also spoke about Gujarat's advancement in the field of solar energy. He claimed that the state has dedicated 600 MW to the national grid, while the rest of the country is producing only 120 MW of solar energy.

The solar park set up at Charanka will be the Asia's largest, Modi said.

He also claimed that the innovative canal-top solar power project was beneficial in saving about one crore litres of water per kilometer from evaporation annually and would save 16 per cent of electricity and land for farmers.

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