After low paddy crop yield, state to seek help from centre

STAFF REPORTER
IMPHAL, 9th Dec: While expressing apprehension that there might shortage of rice owing to poor harvest this year, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution minister Karam Shyam said he would approach the central government for providing additional rice with Minimum Support Price (MSP).
When queried about steps taken to tackle shortage of rice, minister Shyam told The People's Chronicle that the department has already started working to find out requisite quantity of rice. He will visit New Delhi and seek help from the central government in a short time to provide necessary quantity of rice for the state, he assured.
Shyam stated that after implementation of National Food Security Act, provision of rice under APL has stopped and rice quota under Food Security cannot be sought by the state more than its reserved quota.
He stated that the department will be demanding rice that can be bought at MSP and the required quantity of rice will be decided after consulting officials.
On the other hand, devastating floods experienced by the state earlier this year and drought-like situation faced during ripening season of paddy are learnt to be the main reason for the huge decline in rice production this year.
In a survey conducted by TPC, rice yield in areas under Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal, Kakching and Bishnupur witnessed sharp dip this year.
Some farmers who experienced a series of natural calamities this year are worried over decline in their produce.
Disheartened farmers conveyed that they could harvest only 10 bags of paddy from areas where 30 paddy bags were produced last year and expressed concern that it might not even be sufficient for family consumption.
The farmers, who pointed out reasons of low production as shortage of water during paddy ripening season and infection by various crops diseases, drew the attention of the government for addressing their inconveniences.
Meanwhile, in a crop cutting experiment conducted by officials of District Agriculture Office at the affected fields, only 6 to 8 kgs of paddy were harvested in a 25 square metre area. In addition to the reasons cited above for low production of paddy, an agricultural expert has supplemented saying that lack of awareness among farmers and non-provision of requisite fertilisers including urea at the right time led to the low production.
The expert suggested that solution to the worry felt across the state will be timely distribution of seeds of rabi crops, distribution of technologies to the farmers by the government and its timely intervention.
While expressing discontent over politicisation in distribution of seeds by the government by making the MLAs distribute them, the expert pointed out that distribution of seeds to the farmers should be done through agricultural offices of the district or sub-division concerned and made the farmers benefit directly.


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