Following an approval by the state cabinet, the Manipur Government on Saturday declared drought in as many as 70 blocks across the state.
The last time Manipur was declared as affected by drought was in 2009, wherein the Centre declared a drought in the state.
An official statement estimated that the significant deficit in rainfall has adversely affected crops across 70 blocks. As per initial estimates, villagers of these blocks have reported crop failure ranging from 33 per cent to more than 50 per cent, based on which they would be categorized as moderately and severely affected by drought.
It is further reported that biggest impact of the drought has been in the valley districts, although several hill blocks have also been affected in varying degrees.
The Agriculture Department estimated that as of July 2019, nearly 99,153 hectares of paddy fields have been affected by the scarcity of rainfall this monsoon.
The declaration of a drought, the statement said, would enable the state government to seek relief from the Government of India. After the declaration, the Department of Relief and Disaster Management is supposed to submit a memorandum for relief to the Government of India within a week’s time. The government would then depute an inter-ministerial team to the state for verification.
Prior to the cabinet meeting, Chief Minister N Biren Singh chaired a high-level meeting, which was attended by cabinet ministers, MLAs, Chief Secretary, vice-chancellor of Central Agricultural University, agriculture departments, deputy commissioners, representatives from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) among others.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister reviewed the rainfall situation, crop conditions and the status of water reservoirs. The state suffers from a rain deficit of over 50 per cent and the water deficiency level of the reservoirs is over 60 per cent.
Manipur State Remote Sensing Centre (MARSAC) is assessing vegetation cover stationed based on satellite data. Moreover, Deputy Commissioners are making ground verifications through revenue and agriculture department staff.
As per the government’s Manual for Drought Management, at least 10 per cent villagers of the affected blocks are to be surveyed through physical inspection for ground-truthing.
The Agriculture Department was also directed to issue the drought notification immediately after which the Department of Relief and Disaster Management would prepare a memorandum for relief and submit the same to the government.