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Special scheme for flood-hit farmers

Guwahati, Sept. 28: Assam’s agriculture department employees will not be allowed to take leave for the next two months, in the wake of floods taking a heavy toll on the sector.

State agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka today said the government would take up a special scheme to compensate the damage caused by the recent floods.

He said that employees of the department would not be granted leave for the next two months to expedite implementation of the scheme.

“As the agriculture minister, I will also attend office on all working days during this period to monitor the scheme implementation,” Deka said.

The minister said the latest wave of floods, the third in the state this year, had damaged 328,516 hectares of agricultural land. Another 2.54 hectares of agricultural land had been affected in the first two waves of floods, he added.

Deka said the special scheme would cover 410,309 hectares of agricultural land benefiting 11,83,236 farmers.

He said district-level committees, headed by the deputy commissioner and agriculture officers as its members, would be implementing authority of the special scheme in the respective districts.

Deka said officers of his department have been directed to make field visits to get a first-hand account of losses suffered by the farmers.

Under the proposed scheme, hybrid and high-yielding seeds of paddy, potato, mustard, black gram and lentil, would be distributed to the affected farmers.

He said the department has also prepared an Rs 18 crore scheme for farmers affected by the recent violence in BTAD and adjoining areas.

“Apart from free distribution of seeds, the state government will also offer 50 per cent subsidy to the riot-affected farmers to purchase power tillers and tractors,” Deka said.

“The government will arrange for ploughing of the fields of farmers who lost their cattle in the floods or ethnic violence,” he said.

According to the minister, Majuli, Sadiya, Dhakuakhana and Barpeta are among the worst flood-affected areas. Deka said this was the worst floods after 2004, which have claimed 19 lives while 10 persons are still missing.

Though the floods have caused extensive damage, Assam is yet to receive the ad hoc support of Rs 500 crore announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 2 during his visit to the state.

Principal secretary, revenue and disaster management, V.K. Pipersenia said the amount has been sanctioned by the Prime Minister’s Office and it would be released after the state government utilises Rs 259 crore from the disaster response fund and submits the utilisation certificates to the Centre.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today reviewed the flood situation with ministers and district administration officials of Morigaon at a meeting held at PWD inspection bungalow, Jagiroad.

Gogoi directed the officials to leave no stone unturned and provide all possible help to the flood-affected people of the district.

Later, the chief minister undertook an aerial survey of flood-hit Morigaon, Darrang, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts, besides the worst-affected Kazaringa National Park and Majuli.

He also reviewed the flood situation with water resources minister Rajib Lochan Pegu in Jorhat in the evening.

Gogoi will undertake another aerial survey of flood-hit areas of Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts tomorrow and hold review meetings with district administrations of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia.


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