State seeks Rs 200 cr from Central govt

 GUWAHATI, July 31 – The State Agriculture Department has sought Rs 200 crore from the Centre in view of the large-scale damage to the agriculture sector in the devastating flood, said Agriculture Minister Atul Bora today.

As per an assessment by the department concerned, the agriculture sector in Assam has suffered a loss of more than Rs 193.19 crore due to the deluge, with approximately 2.89 lakh hectare of agricultural land in 26 districts being affected.

Altogether 5,04,370 farm-families

have been affected by floods in the State this year. The Central team that took stock of the flood situation recently has been intimated about the fund requirement from the Agriculture Department.

The State would need at least Rs eight crore to remove the silt that has covered approximately 6,293 hectares of agricultural land in six districts, the Minister said while addressing the media here.

Flood-induced siltation has caused the maximum damage in North Lakhimpur where 3,565 hectares of farmland has been covered by silt rendering it useless for now. In Dhemaji, 2,000 hectares of agricultural land has been affected by siltation followed by 614 hectares in Biswanath, 79 hectares in Golaghat, 32 hectares in Majuli and three hectares in Darrang district.

“The silt crust has to be fully removed to make the land fit for farming,” he added. The Minister however, claimed that the due to early flood this year, most of the damage to the crop is of reversible nature and steps are already being taken by the department to assist the farmers with new seedlings.

“In many districts, the agriculture officers have started supplying new seedlings to the farmers. Moreover, a good number of community nurseries are also supplying the seeds. Unless another flood of this enormity occurs, we hope we will make up for the damages well within the season,” Bora said, adding the paddy production is unlikely to go down this year and the department is targeting a production of 68 lakh MT paddy this year.

The minister further stated that an agricultural policy of the State would be announced within the next 10 days. The draft of the policy has been prepared by the Assam Agricultural University in consultation with the Agriculture Department, NABARD and ICAR.

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