Lawmakers ask govt to declare Tarai ‘drought-hit’

  • poor monsoon fallout

Aug 1, 2014-

A majority of lawmakers addressing Parliament on Friday demanded that Tarai be declared as a “drought-hit” area and farmers compensated.

Most districts in the plains have not received adequate rainfall this monsoon, leaving around one third of the total land area barren. Data released by the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday showed that paddy has not been planted in 31 percent area of the country as a result of poor monsoon. During the same period last year, paddy had been transplanted in 91 percent area.

Lawmakers from various parties representing several districts in the country’s southern belt also asked the government to bring a long-term plan to address the irrigation problem.

Addressing the House, Nepali Congress lawmaker Amresh Kumar Singh drew the attention of the government to the problem faced by the farmers and asked for compensation.

“In the lack of adequate rainfall, a large number of farmers are yet to start paddy plantation,” he said, asking the government to start preparations for tackling an imminent food deficiency.

In the lack of timely rainfall and irrigation facilities, transplanted seedlings are on the verge of drying up in various districts, stoking fears of lowered paddy yield this year. Large swathes of arable land in the Tarai, which is the country’s food basket, depend on rain for irrigation.

“Unavailability of fertilisers on time and pest infestation have added to the plight of farmers already troubled by the drought,” said UCPN (Maoist) lawmaker Agni Sapkota. He asked the government to send agriculture scientists immediately to areas where farmers are facing the pest problem. Maize crop in over 150 bighas of land in Dang has been destroyed by pests.

Akbal Ahmand Shah of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, stating that farmers have often been hit by drought, criticised the government for failing to allocate adequate funds to set up irrigation facilities. He claimed that the farmers had been compelled to use pumps to irrigate their fields, causing the production cost to soar. A total of 28 lawmakers aired their concerns during the Zero Hour.

Published: 02-08-2014 09:48

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