Farmers demand agriculture land act

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Sobhapati SamonIMPHAL MArch 7: Manipur farmers have demanded a state agriculture land act (policy) to save the cultivable land of the region which is on the verge of extinction due to human pressure. A farmer’s body-Loumi Sinmi Apun Lup (LOUSAI) Manipur sponsored a public convention on the shrinking paddy here on Sunday has decided to urge the state authority to adopt a state agriculture land act  without delay.
Most of the farmers during the gathering said it is high time to pass the Manipur Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Bill into an Act in order to save the paddy fields of the state which are on the verge of extinction due to the increasing acquisition of the state government in the name of development and using the paddy fields for other reason by the public.
According to state agriculture department, Manipur’s total agricultural land area is around 1.95 lakh hectares, of which around 35,000 hectares were suitable for double cropping besides around 2.30 lakh hectares of field have been calculated to produce paddy annually.
However, the actual figure differs from the official records since the district agriculture officers are yet to conduct any survey. Moreover, many agricultural lands have been converted either in government’s developmental works or individual purposes. Imphal West district is in the top loser of agricultural land among the 9 districts. Thus, loss of agricultural land has created shortage of food grains.
The gathering which was participated by more than 15 farmers bodies of the state also decided to urge the concerned authority to hand over the 90 MW Loktak hydro-electric power project to the state government besides implementing the land act (policy). It is estimated that around Rs 400 crores worth crops were lost annually due to submerge of Paddy fields measuring 83,450 hectares in Manipur’s 15 assembly constituencies when the Project was commissioned in 1983.
The state authority has also been urged to include agricultural activities of the region in the school curriculum particularly in the Class VIII to XI syllabus. A joint committee is expected to form under the aegis of the LOUSAI Manipur for the effective implementation of the said resolutions.
Opposition MLA O Joy had introduced the Manipur Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Bill in the state assembly on July 10, 2009. Unfortunately, the state government is not taking the issue seriously to pass the bill into an act.

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