|A rally to protest Pritam Bhattacharjee’s murder. File picture
Imphal, July 24: More than half of Manipur’s rice cultivable land is dry, but Okram Ibobi Singh’s government is refusing to declare the state drought-hit.
The chief minister is towing Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s line. Last evening, the cabinet discussed the prevailing drought-like situation in the state and resolved to make all river lift irrigation stations — under the minor irrigation department — functional.
In addition to reactivating the stations, the minor irrigation department will also provide the requisite fuel/diesel, a press release issued by the chief minister’s office today said.
The agriculture department will identify paddy fields that have no source of water other than rain and cannot be irrigated through the stations or pump sets. The department will then assess the extent of damage and work out a proposal for adequate support through alternative cropping, rabi crops or any other suitable means.
The cabinet asked the agriculture department to liaison and coordinate with other departments at both the state and local levels to ensure irrigation services are extended wherever feasible.
The cabinet will hold another meeting in a week’s time to assess the situation.
Irrigation and flood control minister minister Ngamthang Haokip directed his department officials to release water from Khuga dam in Churachandpur district.
“If agriculture minister Sharad Pawar is ready to declare India drought-hit, we are more than willing to declare Manpur drought-hit,” a senior minister said.