Bhawanipatna: Kalahandi district got respite from dry spell due to rain for two days in the last one week, but it has brought little cheer among the farmers. Though the rain helped seeds germinate, the situation continues to be grim as the rainfall is not sufficient for agricultural activities, both for paddy and cotton crops.
In the current kharif season, the Agriculture Department set a target of paddy cultivation in 1,90,000 hectares (ha) in the district.
Due to erratic monsoon, most of the irrigation projects are lying defunct or do not have enough water for crops.
Indravati major irrigation project can irrigate 80,160 ha, but at present, its water level has dropped to 629 metres against the dead level of 625. Its catchment areas are yet to get adequate rainfall.
Similarly, reservoirs of 146 minor irrigation projects of the district, which have the capacity to irrigate 24,370 ha, have gone dry. The Utei medium irrigation project having capacity to irrigate 9306 ha has not
been able to release water to farm land.
With monsoon not showing major improvement, the district administration has come out with a contingency plan for both paddy and cotton crops.
“We will provide necessary assistance to the farmers to tide over the situation,” said Deputy Director of Agriculture (DDA) Laxman Kumar Paltasingh. While the district administration had set a target to distribute 61,133 quintals of paddy seed during the kharif season, about 58,000 quintals of seed, which is around 95 per cent of the target, have been disbursed so far.
Paltasingh said in view of the continuing dry spell and possible damage to crops, the Directorate of Agriculture has been requested to supply additional 10,000 quintals of paddy seeds for short and medium duration of cultivation.
Exuding confidence that the rain situation would shortly improve, he said the farmers need not panic and should wait for rain before going to raise nurseries or transplant saplings. The field officials have been asked to keep a close watch on the situation and advise the farmers accordingly.
Against the normal rainfall of about 240.4 mm, Kalahandi received only 102 mm in June. While Thuamul Rampur and Koksara received 214 mm and 235 mm of rainfall respectively, it was only nine mm in Narla, 12 mm in Lanjigarh, 25 mm in Bhawanipatna, 43 mm in M Rampur, 52 mm in Junagarh and 57 mm in Kesinga. The situation has been similar so far this month.
Meanwhile, agriculture experts have suggested for gap filling and re-sowing of paddy seeds in most of the areas.
Apparently, cotton, the major cash crop of the district, is feared to be affected this time. It was targeted to cover cotton in 45,850 ha and in view of the weather forecast, it was expected for a successful cotton producing year.
However, farmers have sown cotton only in 26,242 ha of which, 14,278 ha have been badly affected.
Kalahandi administration has come out with a contingency plan as erratic monsoon has affected both paddy and cotton farming
The irrigation projects of the district are not in position to tide over the crisis as the reservoirs are not yet filled up