Saturday, 24 March 2018 | PNS | Bharadisain- The state government has initiated the process of unification of horticulture and agriculture departments as part of its strategy of adopting an integrated approach to double the income of farmers of the state. Replying to a question raised by Ranikhet MLA Karan Mahara at Vidhan Sabha on Friday, the Agriculture Minister Subodh Uniyal said that the procedure for the merger of these two departments is currently underway. He said that out of thirteen districts nine districts of the state are completely mountainous while large scale farming is practiced in the districts of Udham Singh Nagar and Haridwar. The minister said that more employees can be made available in all parts of the state when the process of merger gets completed. Congress MLA Mahara however questioned the rationale behind the merger of the departments. He reminded that the horticulture department was specially created when the new state of Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh to develop horticulture activities in the state. In the question hour the Bageshwar MLA Chandan Ram Das raised the question of closure of Kausani tea factory. He wanted to know the reasons for the closure from the minister. In his reply Uniyal said that the factory was closed in June 2014 as the factory owner was not increasing the rates of green tea leaves as per the contract. He further informed that a total of Rs 44.18 lakh is pending with the company. He assured the member that the state government would run the factory once the money is recovered from the company. In reply to a question by MLA Suresh Rathore, Uniyal informed the house that the state government has no special policy for mountainous agriculture. The Parliamentary Affairs and Potable Water minister Prakash Pant, while replying to a question informed that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for strengthening and reorganisation of sewerage systems in fifteen cities of the state is being prepared under the Namami Gange Project. The Vikasnagar MLA Munna Singh Chauhan said that the increasing population of the cities has increased the pressure on the existing sewer lines.