Manipur State Cabinet inconclusive on `drought`

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IMPHAL, July 20: The Manipur state cabinet today reviewed the prevailing rainfall condition in the state and the status of sowing in the paddy fields across the state.

It was found that the rainfall during the current calendar year has been 63 percent of the normal rainfall leading to drought like situation, but it was found to be much higher than in 2009, when the rainfall was only 43 percent of the normal rainfall and drought was declared by the state.

The cabinet felt that the situation needs to be monitored more closely over the next few days so that a conclusive decision can be arrived at as to whether the situation requires declaration of drought or not.

The cabinet decided to have a firsthand assessment of situation on the ground by forming special teams to visit various valley districts where the rainfall conditions were much worse and sowing less than 65 percent.

The special teams are to be led by the cabinet ministers. Commerce and Industries minister Govindas and IFCD minister Ngamthang Haokip will lead the team in Bishnupur district; education minister M Okendro and RD & PR minister Francis Ngajokpa will lead the team in Thoubal district; works minister Dr Kh Ratankumar and social welfare minister AK Mirabai will lead the team in Imphal West; Speaker Th Lokeshwar and PHED minister I Hemochandra will lead the team in Imphal East.

The ministers will be accompanied by the officials and staffs of respective district agriculture officers. The teams will visit various districts on July 21.

The cabinet will again assess the situation based on assessment reports of the ministers and other relevant inputs. The state cabinet has also directed the agriculture department to be ready with a contingency plan to meet the eventuality of drought, in case it is found so by the special teams and the dry spell continues. The Minor Irrigation Department was also instructed to improve the functioning of all River Lift Irrigation Schemes so as to improve the irrigation scenario in the state.

It may be mentioned that the total annual rainfall is only 544.5 mm deficit of 313.2 mm from the normal rainfall. Most of the paddy fields in the state are without water and they could not bear the fruits due to insufficiency of rainfall.

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