Agri dept holds meeting to take stock of rainfall deficiency woes
Kolkata: Concerned over the dearth of rainfall particularly in the districts of South Bengal, the state Agriculture department on Tuesday held a high-level meeting at Nabanna to take stock of the rainfall and agriculture activities across the state.”The amount of rainfall in the state till date has been around 624 mm, while the deficiency in the state is 27 percent. But our officials believe that by the end of August, the situation will improve and the deficiency can be addressed. At the same time, we have discussed alternative measures that can be adopted if the problem persists,” said Asish Banerjee, state Agriculture minister. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe deficiency in rainfall in South Bengal is more than 50 percent and a number of districts have deficiency over 50 percent. The dismally low amount of rainfall has led to minimum storage of water in the dams, which is also an area of concern for the state government. North Bengal, however, has seen a good amount of rainfall. A senior official in the department said that the officials have been directed to carry out awareness campaigns right from the block to the Panchayat level about the Crop Insurance scheme that was introduced last year. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state”The premium for the insurance will be borne entirely by the state government if a farmer incurs losses in farming,” the official said. The minister directed the officials of the department at all levels to speed up the Krishak Bandhu scheme that was announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on December 31 last year. Till date, the number of beneficiaries under the scheme is over 37 lakh. It may be mentioned that the preparation for sowing of Kharif crops kick off during June and by the middle of August, the sowing of crops gets over. But the monsoon has been very feeble till date and the preparation of sowing has not picked up as desired. “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is concerned about the abnormal weather conditions and has given us necessary directions to ensure that the farmers are not inconvenienced in pursuing agriculture. She had instructed the department to adopt alternative agriculture methods so that crops can be sown even if there is scanty rainfall,” the official said. The department has already introduced the Bangla Krishi Sech Yojana to extend support to farmers in setting up micro-irrigation facilities that will ensure cultivation using less amounts of water. The technological intervention ensures that cultivation of crops, mainly fruits and vegetables, can be done with minimum water.