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Mukul move to tackle drought

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma holds a review meeting at Ampati on Monday. Telegraph picture

Tura, Aug. 11: Scanty rainfall in Meghalaya has led to a drought-like situation in the state.

Chief minister Mukul Sangma today held review meetings at Ampati and Tura with officials of the agriculture, horticulture, irrigation, veterinary and other departments and issued instructions to tackle the situation.

He told The Telegraph that instructions had been issued to the chief secretary to immediately review the situation and design a road map to help the drought-affected families in the state.

On whether the government will take up the matter with the Centre, he said, “We will definitely take up the matter and brief the Centre on the situation. We will also provide the affected families with alternatives from line departments and look at the possibility for plantation of crops like cotton, soya, maize and mustard.”

He said erratic rainfall had affected the state. In the South West Garo Hills, 315 villages were affected, of which, 162 villages are under Betasing block and 153 under Zizak.

In the West Garo Hills, over 250 villages have been affected.

On Friday, South West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Ram Singh held a review meeting with the agriculture department after receiving reports that cultivation of sali crop was being hampered because of the drought-like situation.

“We will look for adaptation and mitigation strategies and recommend a contingency plan to face drought-like situations,” said a senior agriculture officer.

Policemen hurt: Two policemen were hurt in a case of accidental firing at Purakhasia village, nearly 35km from here, around 8 this morning.

A driver and a battalion constable were hurt, when a carbine accidentally went off.

The injured policemen were identified as constable Mridul Ch. Rabha and driver Trepatin T. Sangma.

“Sangma was in the driver’s seat and Rabha was about to board the vehicle when his gun went off accidentally. Rabha was hit in the stomach and Sangma in the chest,” said G.H.P. Raju, inspector-general of police (operations).

Rabha was airlifted to Guwahati for treatment and Sangma is undergoing treatment at Tura civil hospital.