"The state government has decided to set up five lakh solar pumps (for irrigation purpose) in the first phase and necessary global tenders will be floated later this month.

Farmers in the suicide-prone districts in Vidarbha, who are waiting for power connections, will be provided solar pumps on priority," he said here.

The districts of Akola, Amravati, Buldhana, Washim, Yavatmal and Wardha have reported suicides by hundreds of distressed farmers in the last few years.

Fadnavis was speaking after inaugurating the sixth edition of 'Agrovision', a brain child of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari which provides a platform to discuss agriculture- related issues.

Sympathising with farmers, the Chief Minister said they had been hit by calamities in the last 3-4 years, when there had been either excess or very little rainfall.

The government was giving Rs 8,000 crore subsidy on energy bills. Therefore, the solar pumps will help get rid of the problem of electricity shortage, Fadnavis said.

He said to push scientific farming, the government will establish 2,065 weather forecast stations at block level to provide accurate information about rain and soil moisture.

Gadkari, who was chief guest at the event, said the idea behind organising 'Agrovision' was to improve farming techniques and help Vidarbha farmers to adopt new technologies.

The government's primary concern was to stop farmer suicides in Maharashtra, he said.

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