VIJAI GOES SAFFRON, PROMOTES VEDIC FARMING

A “vedic” technique which requires a farmer to sit, meditate and channel “cosmic energy” by chanting “Om rom jum sah” for at least 20 minutes a day for better yields, got the backing of Goa Agriculture Minister Vijay Sardesai Tuesday after he inaugurated a pilot project at a field, close to his residence in Fatorda.
The project is named “Shiv Yog Cosmic Farming” and is designed by Dr Avadhoot Shivanand, a former chemical engineer turned godman, in Gurgaon through his Shiv Yog Foundation. Sardesai’s wife, Usha is a follower of this foundation and “shakti” videos have gone viral among farmers across the state on social media.
Launching the project, Sardesai said: “There is no money involved and, as an agriculture minister, I will explore every method to increase interest in farming. If you convince me a rock show or a beauty contest will also help get people excited about agriculture, I will pull it in the middle of the fields. We need to now look into methods to get everyone interested in farming.”
“My wife Usha is a Shiv Yogi and she is the one who has been promoting this philosophy. I was sceptical at first too, but it’s not magic. There are studies backing this method.”
In January, Usha, accompanied by the Director of Agriculture Nelson Figueiredo, attended an hour-long workshop with Dr Shivanand, where they were told of the benefits of “channelling Shakti into the soil”. Figueiredo could not be reached for comment, but Sardesai confirmed the visit.
Over the last week, Goan farmers have been receiving videos on WhatsApp, which claim they were shot in fields of Madhya Pradesh. The videos show farmers sitting cross-legged and meditating with Shivanand, called ‘Babaji’, describing the impact on the field. In one video, he calls it “tapping the cosmic shakti through the third eye similar to Lord Shiv and forcing the energy to dilute the negative destructive sounds around the field, pushing the universe’s positive vibrations towards healthier seed germination”.
In another video, Shivanand speaks to a room full of “scientists and doctors” calling them referral points and says that the “third eye spiritual exercise” is a “science beyond science”. Shiv Yog Foundation could not be reached for comment.
Agriculture Department officials said their role in the exercise is “limited” and they will only assist where needed, which includes identifying plots in the state which allow for alternative farming methods, and a promise that “no one will be forced to do it”.
Farmers were also called in for a free two-day workshop at the state’s official stadium. In a presentation at the workshop, representatives of the Shiv Yog Foundation distributed a curriculum on meditation, which requires an at least 20-minute recital of “Om rom jum sah” during the seed planting stage, till the seeds take roots – to ensure the “cosmic energies bring the positive microorganisms alive”, and reduce the dependence on fertilisers, gradually.
The participants were also asked to view a Doordarshan show by Dr Shivanand where he presents two studies that confirm his methodology. According to Sardesai, the studies were enough, though the state government hasn’t verified either of them.
Sardesai said: “I was also a sceptic but after meeting Babaji and reading his studies I am also convinced. The general thrust is to focus the energy into the soil, be less dependent on fertilisers. I don’t think we (Goa government) personally need to study as Central Government has listed it in their programme. They must have studied all that, no? Besides Babaji has his firm spread across the globe. He preaches all this abroad.”
Fatorda farmers from Sardesai’s constituency who attended the exhibition, say Usha Sardesai’s case study was also discussed where she has practised the methodology on her plants at home, and her “orchids” on the front porch.
“All I know is there are some celestial sounds one can capture and channel through mediation and help increase the yield and decrease the input of fertilisers. This particular scheme of Shiv Yogi also comes under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana of the Central Government and hence we decided to look into it. The government’s thrust is to increase cultivation, now it can be done anyway, either using religion, through cosmic science, through glamour… anyway,” he said.
“If you ask me, we have 40 thousand hectares of cultivable land lying fallow. If sitting and meditating and tapping cosmic sounds excite them and bring them to the fields, then that is enough for me,” said Sardesai.

SC RULES IN FAVOUR OF AAP
AAM Aadmi party followers may rejoice! The Supreme Court’s latest judgment restores democracy in Delhi and makes it mandatory for the Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor to pay heed to the needs of the Delhi government in improving the quality of SC RULES IN FAVOUR OF AAPlife of the people. Speaking at an AAP conference in Goa on July 4, 2018, AAP General Secretary Pradeep Padgaonkar said, “For the last three-and-a-half years the BJP-led Central government had made a mockery of the mandate that people had given AAP by a thumping majority of 67/70 seats. The landmark judgment reinforces the democratic foundations of the country, and places the will of the people as supreme.”
AAP leader Valmiki Naik added, “This is a slap in the face for Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, a rejection of their vicious and destructive brand of politics that places party above people, which was becoming visible across the country, especially in non-BJP ruled states. This is also a slap on the face of the Congress party which though standing to benefit in Puducherry was cozying up to BJP and acting vindictive to AAP in Delhi.”
He said Goa’s BJP-led government should learn a lesson from this judgment. AAP Convenor Elvis Gomes congratulated the people of Delhi for their victory and said it’s now a matter of time before such achhe din also manifest in Goa with pro-people decisions coming from various court judgments. Gomes took to Twitter to suggest that the Delhi LG should now repent for allowing himself to be used by the Centre to scuttle AAP’s revolutionery governance.

GOAMILES APP NOT A THREAT?
For a change, taxi operators have not announced or resorted to fresh protests after the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) recently decided to launch the “Goamiles” app next month. The tourist taxi operators’ lobby feels that it does not have any future in the State. “It is a good initiative. Let the GTDC start this app. We will see the fun when the people (taxis registered with this app) will cry for business. We are not a metro city wherein such an app would be feasible. I am sure that the app will not work in Goa,” North Goa Tourist Taxi Association President Vinayak Nanoskar.

ACTIVISTS UPSET OVER GOVT SILENCE
The state government’s pro-development response to the draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2018 guidelines, has irked environmental activists as there has been no objection to the proposal to reduce the no-development zone (NDZ) to 50m from the high tide line. IN fact, far from objecting, in a letter to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (Mo-EFCC) late last month, the State Environment Department submitted a slew of development proposals that could change the coastal landscape. An official stated that this submission was not the government’s view on the draft notification but suggestions that arose from consultations with state departments and corporations.
Activists view the draft as an assortment of suggestions from various interest groups to the ministry and the government’s silence on its detrimental features as collusion to monetise the beach frontier. “The relaxation of the 200 m NDZ is to allow builders to construct close to the coast and on sand dunes. The Mo-EFCC has become an adjunct of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry,” Claude Alvares of Goa Foundation said.

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