The 65th Cooperative week celebration organized by Markfed, Punjab and dedicated to ‘ Mission Tandarust Punjab’ kicked off today with a galaxy of eminent dignitaries from the Government and cooperative sector present at the inaugural function held at Dr Manmohan Singh Auditorium, PAU.
The Chief Guests, Sh. Subhash Deshmukh, Textile, Marketing and Cooperation Minister, Government of Maharashtra and S. Sukhjinder Singh randhawa, Cooperation and Jails Minister, Government of Punjab exhorted the gathering of farmers to help in strengthening village level societies through greater connection and trust. Shri Deshmukh reflected on Mahatma Gandhi’s famous saying, “India will prosper only if its villages prosper”. The need of the hour, he stressed is to retain village youth by generating employment within the villages and in this regard the cooperative societies in different sectors like dairy, textiles, food processing, pesticides etc have a great role to play. Referring to India’s population as its major strength, Shri Deshmukh called for strengthening cooperatives to an extent where the country’s farm produce could be utilized to feed its teeming millions, instead of exporting. “For this we need support of farmers who need to look beyond production and turn to marketing and processing”, he remarked. Giving example of Maharashtra’s flourishing sugar industry which is a cooperative movement; Deshmukh stated that the coming together of Punjab and Maharashtra’s cooperatives could create a major cooperative revolution in the country leading to faster progress. He later launched products like haldi, jaggery, shakkar, garlic masala and cashew nuts produced by the state farmers through cooperative bodies, for sale in Punjab market. Likewise the products by Markfed, Punjab would be available for sale in Maharashtra as well.
In his remarks, S. Sukhjinder Randhawa defined the Cooperative movement as the people’s movement where corruption would not be tolerated. While urging farmers to attend training programmes conducted by various departments, the Minister revealed that the cooperative week from next year onwards would be celebrated at village level whose highlight would be feedback of the farmers with respect to functioning of various rural cooperatives. Describing Punjab and Maharashtra as the mind and heart of the country, he dwelled on how the preaching of Bhagat Namdev and Banda Singh Bahadur, who hailed from Maharashtra, created the historic bond between the two states. “When heart and mind comes together, success is guaranteed”, said Randhawa while referring to the coming together of cooperative societies in the two states.
PAU Vice Chancellor reiterated the message of diversification and cooperation among farmers for further empowerment of agriculture. He lauded the exemplary growth of Maharashtra’s sugar industry and the legendary success story of Gujrat’s dairy cooperative, Amul. He called for shorter channels linking farmers with consumers and for awakening and dedication among the farming community.
The Guest of honour for the day, Sh. R. Sudheendranath, Executive Director, Hindustan Petroleum Cooperation Limited informed about the signing of pact between Hindustan Petroleum Limited and Markfed for manufacturing quality lubricants. These co- branded lubricants, he mentioned will be cheaper and of better quality. He urged societies to popularize the same.
Earlier, Dr Gurbhajan Gill shared his thoughts on GURU Nanak’s ideology, motivating audience to work hard, pray and share generously. Varun Roojam, IAS and Managing Director, Markfed welcomed the guests.