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Ashok Oraon has not tilled three of his 4.5 acre land not far from Patki village in Senha block that had always yielded rice for him and his familys survival for almost six months a year since childhood. For the second consecutive year,the monsoon,on which farming here is heavily dependent,has played a cruel joke on him,his wife and five children.
Like last year,this time too short bursts of rain were followed by long dry spells,and just when they began to think of an alternative,a fresh spell of drizzle rekindled their hope,prompting them to sow paddy in a patch of land some time in July.
Now with the sowing time over and little rain in Patki,their paddy crops look yellow. They are actually stubble barely two feet long unfit even for fodder,according to Oraon. Still we have to harvest them because otherwise they will take roots and spoil the fertility of the soil, cribs Jatin,Oraons son,who studies in Class VII.
The farmers story across the state is largely the same,with all 24 districts having been declared drought-hit.
In the adjacent Sisai village in Gumla district,two other Oraons do not have much to do apart from airing their despair due to the unprecedented drought. One has left his entire field barren and the other seems to be better off with paddy sprouting in his low-lying land,thanks to its location near the riverbed with lift irrigation installed with subsidies from the government.
But acres and acres of tanr (up land) that were used to grow paddy crop look parched. The wild plants that have come up are going to create an additional problem. We have to remove them before we use it for sowing a fresh crop. We are ruined, says Naresh Manjhi,cursing the rain god for depriving him of an opportunity to plough his fields this monsoon.
Two years ago,the low-lying area of Ranchi district was concerned with water logging. Drainage of water,and not irrigation,was the main concern. The dry spells in the past two years have left the villagers bewildered. They had never felt the need of irrigation,but this time it is the deficit in rain that has left them down.
In Ranchi,three dams Gonda,Rukka and Dhurva that supplied water to its residents have less than 30 per cent of their total capacity. A report prepared by the public health department states that Gonda,Rukka and Dhurva had less than 17,21 and 20 million cubic metres against their capacity of 2126,1980 and 2198 million cubic metres of water respectively.
So,whats the government doing under Presidents Rule? With Governor MOH Farook keeping a close eye on the situation,the state government has undertaken measures like:
n The disaster management department has allocated Rs 4.37 crore for purchasing 4567 MT rice,to be given to the panchayats.
n A control room manned by the government staff has been set up at every block and its telephone number made public so that any person is in need can get in touch for help.
n To meet with the water shortage,10 deep well boring have been planned to be dug in each of the over 4,500 panchayats in the state.
We will leave no stone unturned to provide relief to all those who need it, says Chief Secretary A K Singh. The state government has sought Rs 5,000 crore assistance from the Centre to start its relief operation. In response,a central team headed by the National Horticulture Mission Director Vijay Kumar visited some affected villages. The scene is alarming as we have noted that an average 30-35 per cent seeds could be sown due to weak monsoon in the state. The rainfall has been 45-50 per cent below normal so far, said a member of the team on condition of anonymity.
Courtesy : http://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/jkhand-to-harvest-padd...