IMPHAL, July 9 – Manipur Loumi Lup (MLL), a body of farmers in the State, today launched a march to new Assembly complex at Chingmeirong here braving the heat to demand immediate announcement of drought in the State.
But the police obstructed the farmers from reaching the Assembly. They were pushed back to the PWD building and the police seized festoons and placards from them. The farmers were also asked to disperse in view of the restrictions imposed in connection with the on-going Assembly session.
Later, the President of MLL, M Maimu said that two-third of the agricultural land in the State are yet to receive seasonal rain for cultivation. There are about 1.9 lakh heactres of agricultural land in the State.
Urging the government to announce drought in the State, he also sought help from the concerned authority to make small dams in the nearby rivers to supply irrigation facilities besides issuing pump sets to the needy farmers.
“We are also seeking help to provide fertilisers at subsidised rate,” the farmer leader said. “The government should also take up food for work schemes in the State.”
If rains continue to play hide and seek till mid-July, Manipur Government may be compelled to declare the State as drought-hit.
Agriculture Minister Md Abdul Nasir had in fact stated here on Saturday that the quantity of rain has been very less. If there is inadequate rainfall till mid-July, the government would be consulted for declaring drought in the State, he said.
The months of June and July is the period when normally there is adequate rainfall in Manipur for the farmers to take up their cultivation works in full-swing. But this year, the quantity of rain has been very less compared to previous years.
Manipur received about 332.3 mm of rainfall in June last year against 187.3 mm this year as per records available at Meteorological Centre Imphal. The first week of July 2011 received about 40.2 mm of rainfall against this year’s 17.1 mm.
Meanwhile, the Chikim Human Rights Forum, Jiri Zone has sought immediate assistance from the district administration of Tamenglong for flood victims who were displaced due to havoc wreaked by flooding of Jiri river recently.