IMPHAL,July 22 � Even as four ministerial teams fan out across four districts, to have a firsthand assessment of the condition of the paddy fields which have been affected seriously due to scanty rainfall, farmers community warns to launch agitation if the authority fails to help the needy cultivators.
Noting comments of Government officials that drought would be declared in case sufficient monsoon rain do not fall within July 15, the All Manipur Progressive Farmers' Association�s advisor Joy Nongmaithem said that with no sign of rain for nearly two weeks after the expected day the situation remains the same.
The advisor also informed that out of the State's total cultivable area of 2,10,500 hectares, paddy plantation is currently possible in about 96,000 hectares on account of availability of irrigation network or close proximity to water sources.
Meanwhile, four ministerial teams were led by the two Cabinet Ministers each began to study the paddy fields across the four valley districts�the main rice bowl of the State on Saturday. Commerce and Industries minister Govindas and Irrigation and Flood Control Department minister Ngamthang Haokip led the team in Bishnupur district, Education minister M Okendro and Rural Development minister Francis Ngajokpa led the team in Thoubal district, Works minister Dr Kh Ratankumar and Social Welfare minister AK Mirabai led the team in Imphal West, Speaker Th Lokeshwar and Public Health Engineering Department minister I Hemochandra led the team in Imphal East.
According to the Education minister Okendro, the report collected by the ministerial teams would be studied in another Cabinet meeting for necessary action. He said the report of this inspection tour would be submitted to the authorities concerned and the State Government would extend all possible support to the farmers by supplying water pumps, grains, diesel oil and fertilizers.