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Paddy in state focus

Ranchi, July 17: Chief minister Hemant Soren today directed the state agriculture department to draw up a plan to boost cultivation of kharif crops in six districts of Jharkhand that have received below average rainfall so far.

During a meeting held to review agriculture activities vis-ŕ-vis rains at Project Building, Hemant directed acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty to co-ordinate with different departments and keep tabs on sowing of kharif crops across the state, with special emphasise on the rain-deficit districts.

Apart from the chief minister and the acting chief secretary, agriculture secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni, chairman of the agricultural physics and meteorology department (BAU) A. Wadood and others were present at the three-hour-long meeting.

According to records available with the BAU, Garhwa, Palamau, Gumla, Simdega, Lohardaga and Ramgarh received less than average or scanty rain in the month of July — considered the most important time for sowing main kharif crops like paddy, maize, oilseeds and pulses.

Garhwa has received only 54mm rainfall till July 16 as against the average of 362mm for the month. The ratio of recorded rainfall versus average in Palamau stands at 69: 344, Gumla 103:357, Simdega 126:403, Lohardaga 101:350 and Ramgarh 118:339.

During the meeting, Hemant asked Kulkarni to provide all possible help to farmers in the affected districts. The chief minister also asked the officials to monitor sowing till July 21 and rainfall till July 31.

“Another meeting will be held in the first week of August to review sowing coverage and weather situations. A final decision with respect to compensation for farmers and other state aid will be taken accordingly,” the chief minister said.

Speaking to The Telegraph, agriculture secretary Kulkarni said only around 10 per cent sowing of paddy had been completed in those six districts.

However, he insisted that the situation was not so grim across Jharkhand with 10 other districts receiving surplus rains.

“For districts like Garhwa, Palamau, Gumla, Lohardaga, Ramgarh and Simdega, we are working out a plan to provide seeds of alternative crops to farmers,” Kulkarni said.

Wadood said barring the above-mentioned six districts, rains were good in other parts of the state. Against the average of 327mm rainfall in the month of July, the state received a total of 172mm till July 16, over 50 per cent already.

Notably, yesterday, Kulkarni held meeting with deputy commissioners of different districts through video-conferencing and asked them to organise block-level camps to make farmers aware about Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) so that they could avail benefits various government schemes.

Though only six districts are said to have received deficit rain, the delayed monsoon has render farmers in major parts of the state worried.

Sarga Munda, a tribal farmer from Pratappur village of Tamar block in Ranchi district, said they were finding it difficult to sow paddy due to lack of water.