TODAY -

IFM points to sorry state of RLIs
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 23 2020: Pointing out the sorry state of River Lift Irrigation (RLI) system constructed at different parts of the State and their failure to irrigate agricultural land, the Irabot Foundation, Manipur (IFM) has urged legislators of the State to take up the issue in the ongoing Assembly session and constitute a fact finding committee with members from ruling parties, Opposition party and CSOs.

With the necessary support to boost agriculture sector lacking in the State, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for doubling farmers' income by 2022 seems a very distant dream in the State, said IFM.

As usual, paddy fields in the State are left uncultivated during winter season owing to absence of irrigation facilities.

Farmers have to wait for the arrival of monsoon rain to begin their agricultural activities.

IFM, a civil society organization which works for upliftment of farmers with the ultimate goal of making the State self-reliant economically, informed that many of the RLIs are not functioning even though Minor Irrigation (MI) Department claimed there are more than 250 RLIs in the State till 2019.IFM secretary general Khunjamayum Gopen urged the State legislators to discuss the matter in the ongoing Manipur Legislative Assembly session and form a fact finding committee with the representatives from Opposition party, ruling party and CSOs to inspect the conditions of RLIs in the State.

He asserted that IFM can no longer visit every place where the RLIs are said to have been built due to shortage of funds and manpower and appealed the State Government to bring out a white paper on the failure of RLIs in the State.

"Huge amount of money which the authorities had spent on constructing RLIs in the State is public money.

Hence, the State Government should not take the matter of defunct RLIs lightly", he added.

Further citing data given by the State's Agriculture Department, Gopen maintained that only around 50 percent of the total 194,800 hectares of arable land in the State had been cultivated last Kharif season due to the occurrence of drought like situation in the State.

Claiming that many farmers are not able to repay the loans they took from money lenders during last year's planting season, he asked the Government to give financial assistance to the farmers who lost crops last year.

He also stressed on the need for developing adequate irrigation facilities in the State to address the problem of deficient rainfall and drought like situation in paddy fields and agricultural lands of the State.

Saying that agricultural activities in the State are dependent on the vagaries of monsoon, Gopen said that the State Government should come up with an appropriate policy to enhance agricultural activities in the State.

The Prime Minister's vision of doubling farmers' income in the State would have no meaning if the Government continues to insist farmers to bring Green Revolution without providing necessary support, particularly irrigation facilities.

The IFM secretary general also underscored the importance of protecting and preserving the ever shrinking agricultural lands in the State while lamenting that the State Government has taken a capitalist resolution in a State Cabinet meeting in the recent months to legalize construction of structures built on arable land before 2014 .


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