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State unlikely to announce drought

IMPHAL, July 27: The Okram Ibobi Singh led Congress government is unlikely to announce ‘drought’ status in the state even as the rains fall short of the required minimum, according to sources.

Despite the cabinet decision on July 23, the Minor Irrigation department is still grappling with problems in trying to make the River Lift Irrigation stations functional.

Speaking to IFP Agriculture director L Palendro said, a cumulative report was culled from officials of the department.

Palendro said that scrutiny reports from the districts of the state started to arrive today except for two districts which are expected to be late. Further, the district level officers have collected information on the status of the agricultural land and interaction has been carried out with them.

The reports will be analyzed, further it will be discussed on alternative crops to be planted in the water scarce areas. The same will be handed over to be discussed in the upcoming cabinet meet scheduled on July 30.

Inquiry about the present drought scenario, Palendro stated that rainfall below 75 percent constitutes a drought like situation. The record of rainfall mentions that Normal rainfall expected is 895.1mm and the actual rainfall upto July 22 is at 574.8 mm resulting in a deficit rainfall of 36 percent.

The present rainfall rate is tagged at 64 percent and it suggests a drought like situation but the government will not announce the drought status, he said.

He mentioned that the last drought announced by the government in 2009 was in the recorded rainfall of 42 percent and announcing drought status requires approval from the Govt. of India. Experts from the centre have also conducted field visits to authenticate the matter.

But to address the woes of the farmers, the department has distributed 34 tons of ‘IR-64’ rice variety which can be reaped within 120 days.

The allocations made are 10 tons each for Thoubal and Bishnupur districts, 6 tons for Imphal East and 8 tons for Imphal West. Similarly, 1600 kg of another hybrid variety “RC Mani Phou 7” was taken from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and distributed.

The director also mentioned that the feasibility of planting Black pulses (Sagol Hawai) is limited as the crop fails in rain and in the cold season. The alternative crop needs to be discussed further, he said.

Meanwhile, the RLI scheme will take at least 5/6 days to be functional, Moirangthem Shyambabu, Chief Engineer of Minor Irrigation department told IFP that in order to procure the suction pipes and other pump accessories, an official has left for Gauhati yesterday. The repairing of the pumps for Imphal East is also underway, he said.



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