The government has sanctioned Rs 75 crore to tackle the situation arising out of late monsoons and the prospect of food scarcity in the state.
The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and attended by Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Surya Kanta Mishra,Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta,Agriculture Minister Naren Dey and Minister for Water Resources Investigation Nandogopal Bhattacharya,besides senior officials.
Among the measures we are taking are digging up more tubewells,repairing deep,medium and shallow tubewells,preparing new seedbeds,protecting the old seedbeds,cleaning of ponds,etc. All these will have to be completed by August 14, Dasgupta said,adding the government would spend four times the money already sanctioned.
Meanwhile,the state government has begun building more godowns to store foodgrains at a cost of Rs 12 crore. These godowns will be in addition to the 300 already existing ones across the state. The government has set up a three-member committee headed by Food Commissioner P S Katiresan to execute the plan.
We have heard that the central government is going in for large purchases of foodgrains from abroad as the food situation in the country as a whole is grim. We are building these extra godowns to store the additional amount of foodgrains that we are likely to get from the Centre, a food department official said.
He said the state has about 4,000 tonnes in storage. We set a target of 16,000 tonnes of rice for procurement this year but we are sure we will not be able to meet that target. So we will have to gear up for that, the official said.