GUWAHATI, Sept 6 - The three waves of floods so far this year have inundated 3.82 lakh hectares of agricultural land and crops in 2.79 lakh hectares of farm land have been destroyed on account of the floods.
This was stated by Agriculture Minister Atul Bora in the Legislative Assembly today.
In a written reply to the House, the Minister said that the agriculture department has prepared a plan to distribute winter paddy under the Natural Calamity and Epidemic Scheme to the flood-affected farmers. In addition, steps have been taken to distribute seeds for pulses for rabi crop.
Replying to supplementary questions, Bora said that siltation has affected farm land in some districts and the agriculture department has contacted the panchayat and rural department to ensure that steps are taken to remove the siltation under MNREGA works.
He said the government is also looking at the option of assisting the farmers to take up some alternative crops.
�We have directed the officials in our department to visit flood-hit villages and discuss the issue of alterative cropping with the farmers. Reports have been received from some districts in this regard,� he said.
Bora added that some discrepancies took place in distribution of seeds during the previous Congress regime and steps like e-tendering have been initiated by the present government to ensure that the entire process could be streamlined.
The Minister�s reference to mismanagement during the previous regime�s time drew strong response from the Congress MLAs.
Congress legislator Rekibuddin Ahmed said that if there was indeed any corruption during the previous government�s time, then action should now be taken against those involved.
�Act against people who were responsible for any mismanagement. But please do not drag the name of the Congress party on every matter,� Ahmed said.
He also suggested that special zones of around 500 bighas be created in government land in areas located near Guwahati for vegetable cultivation and added that such a step would not only generate employment but also help residents of Guwahati have easier access to vegetables.
AGP�s Ramendra Narayan Kalita called upon the government to announce a loan waiver for flood-affected farmers and also demanded that tractors be distributed among such farmers.
Minister Bora, in his reply, said he would discuss the issue of loan waiver with the Chief Minister. He also added that power tillers have been distributed to farmers in huge numbers.
BJP MLA Tapan Kumar Gogoi said that many farmers who lost their crops during the 2016 floods, have yet to receive government assistance.
Bora admitted that complaints in this regard have been received from farmers pertaining to not only 2016 but also previous years.
�The Chief Minister has given charge of different districts to various ministers who have been tasked to find out the exact details in this regard. Once the figures come, we will arrange to provide assistance to the affected farmers by route of DBT,� Bora said.
The Minister added that awareness about crop insurance in Assam is still very low and called upon the legislators to help in spreading awareness about the issue.
He said that this year a total of 50,479 farmers have been covered under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.