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Drought-like condition hits sali paddy

By Correspondent

MANGALDAI, July 23 � At a time when thousands of farmers in several districts of upper Assam have been hit by floods, their counterparts in Darrang district are reeling under the impact of a drought-like condition. Due to acute shortage of rainfall and lack of proper irrigation facilities to supply water to cropland, thousands of farmers involved in sali paddy cultivation in the district are suffering.

Majnoor Haque (37), secretary, Paschim Goriapara Pathar Parisalana Samiti under Jaljali GP, told this correspondent on Sunday that the land, which yielded a minimum of 750 kg paddy per bigha over the last couple of years, wears a barren look in this most important phase of seedling transplantation due to the prevailing drought like situation. Bhadra Kanta Deka (60), a farmer of Autola Ahaka village, recalled a similar drought-like condition in the area in 1986. With not much time left for transplantation of high-yielding varieties of paddy seedlings like Ranjit, Aijang, Bahadur, etc., the senior farmer is apprehensive about probable food scarcity in the near future.

Meanwhile, the District Agriculture Department has identified nearly 2.7 lakh bighas of sali paddy area to have been affected by the drought-like condition. An official source said that out of a total 3.77 lakh bighas of sali paddy area covering 480 villages under three Agriculture subdivisions of the district, seedlings could be transplanted only in one lakh bigha area. Among the three Agriculture subdivisions � Mangaldai, Dalgaon and Pathorighat � Bonglagarh under the Mangaldai subdivision has been the worst affected with more than 49,000 bighas in 50 villages, followed by more than 40,000 bighas in 51 villages at Kopati, Dalgaon area and above 1,05,000 bighas in 119 villages at Duni, Dumunichowki and Sarabari under the Pathorighat Agriculture subdivision.

It may be mentioned here that though the district does not have any meteorological centre, the rain gauge station at the District Agriculture Office here recorded a very low rainfall of 638.6 mm up to the month of June this year in comparison to 1288.3 mm in the same period last year. According to Amulya Kumar Nath, District Agriculture Officer, Darrang, rainfall between 1,000 mm and 1,100 mm during this period is essential for a good sali harvest. On being asked about irrigation facilities, Nath said that about 1,800 shallow tube well (STW) pump sets, which run either on electricity or diesel and each having a capacity of supplying water to 15 bighas, have already been distributed to farmers under 50 per cent government subsidy. Irrigation covers 34 per cent crop area in the district according to official figures.

Basanta Das, Minister of Fishery and I&PR, accompanied by senior officials of the Agriculture and Irrigation departments, on Sunday visited some of the affected villages and later held discussions for both short-term and long-term relief measures.

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Drought-like condition hits sali paddy

MANGALDAI, July 23 � At a time when thousands of farmers in several districts of upper Assam have been hit by floods, their counterparts in Darrang district are reeling under the impact of a drought-like condition. Due to acute shortage of rainfall and lack of proper irrigation facilities to supply water to cropland, thousands of farmers involved in sali paddy cultivation in the district are suffering.

Majnoor Haque (37), secretary, Paschim Goriapara Pathar Parisalana Samiti under Jaljali GP, told this correspondent on Sunday that the land, which yielded a minimum of 750 kg paddy per bigha over the last couple of years, wears a barren look in this most important phase of seedling transplantation due to the prevailing drought like situation. Bhadra Kanta Deka (60), a farmer of Autola Ahaka village, recalled a similar drought-like condition in the area in 1986. With not much time left for transplantation of high-yielding varieties of paddy seedlings like Ranjit, Aijang, Bahadur, etc., the senior farmer is apprehensive about probable food scarcity in the near future.

Meanwhile, the District Agriculture Department has identified nearly 2.7 lakh bighas of sali paddy area to have been affected by the drought-like condition. An official source said that out of a total 3.77 lakh bighas of sali paddy area covering 480 villages under three Agriculture subdivisions of the district, seedlings could be transplanted only in one lakh bigha area. Among the three Agriculture subdivisions � Mangaldai, Dalgaon and Pathorighat � Bonglagarh under the Mangaldai subdivision has been the worst affected with more than 49,000 bighas in 50 villages, followed by more than 40,000 bighas in 51 villages at Kopati, Dalgaon area and above 1,05,000 bighas in 119 villages at Duni, Dumunichowki and Sarabari under the Pathorighat Agriculture subdivision.

It may be mentioned here that though the district does not have any meteorological centre, the rain gauge station at the District Agriculture Office here recorded a very low rainfall of 638.6 mm up to the month of June this year in comparison to 1288.3 mm in the same period last year. According to Amulya Kumar Nath, District Agriculture Officer, Darrang, rainfall between 1,000 mm and 1,100 mm during this period is essential for a good sali harvest. On being asked about irrigation facilities, Nath said that about 1,800 shallow tube well (STW) pump sets, which run either on electricity or diesel and each having a capacity of supplying water to 15 bighas, have already been distributed to farmers under 50 per cent government subsidy. Irrigation covers 34 per cent crop area in the district according to official figures.

Basanta Das, Minister of Fishery and I&PR, accompanied by senior officials of the Agriculture and Irrigation departments, on Sunday visited some of the affected villages and later held discussions for both short-term and long-term relief measures.

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