Even as Manipur government is yet to declare the state as drought affected, farmers are apparently starting to feel the pinch of the drought-like situation gripping the state.
A group of farmers Saturday stormed the secretariat office in Imphal demanding immediate relief for those affected by the drought-like situation.
The protestors held banners and placards saying, ‘Take up urgent steps to relieve farmer’s suffering’, ‘Do not leave us to farm on our fate’, ‘Infighting for power within the government is not state or people’s issue’ etc.
The protestors, however, were barred from entering the secretariat complex by the security forces. Unable to enter the secretariat complex, the protestors later tried to march towards the Chief Minister’s bungalow, only to be foiled by the police.
Thongam Ajitkumar, representing them, said that the farmers are in need of a special package for the rainfall deficit that has already affected them substantially.
“What is the use of distributing pumps when there is no water and most of the water sources have dried up?” opined Ajitkumar.
He said that such a situation could have been averted had the government implemented a suitable policy, which the farmers demanded.
Meanwhile, Nongpok Imphal Loumee Sinmi Apunba Lup, another farmers’ association, warned the government to face an intense form of agitation if it fails to frame a concrete Agricultural Policy in the interest of the people.
H Ibohanbi, president of the association, said even as agriculture is the mainstay of the state, the farmers’ community have been facing endless problem in agricultural practices.
Ibohanbi lamented that the present measure taken up by the government is not up to the expectation of the farmers.
“We have not received any waters pumps although the government has announced that it has started distributing it”, he said.
As per an official report, Manipur received 41 per cent deficit in rainfall in the month of June.
Despite this, the state is yet to be declared as drought-affected, citing that other parameters like agriculture crops sown area, hydrological index and vegetation index are yet to be fulfilled.
Nevertheless, the state government has reportedly started distributing water pumps, and High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds to balm the prevailing situation.