Uttarakhand farmers ravaged by drought

February 21st, 2009 - 5:47 pm ICT by ANI  

By Ashish Goyel
Tehri (Uttarakhand), Feb 21 (ANI): The once verdant fields of the Tehri region of Uttaranchal are now parched due to a failed monsoon, leaving a majority of farmers in despair.
Uttarakhand that depends on rains for irrigation has received scanty rainfall since November 2008. Drought-like conditions are prevailing in all the 14 hilly districts of the State, which was formed on November 9, 2000, as the 27th state of India.
The state has diverse geographical features ranging from snow-capped mountain peaks in the north to tropical forests in the south.
Farmers of the region were worried due to the scanty rainfall, which they received last monsoon.
“We don”t have any means of irrigation. We are dependent on rains for irrigation. And since there have been literally no rains this season, our fields are drying up,” said Kirti Dutt Kothari, a farmer.
Authorities said that the delay in the rains would badly hit the winter produce.
Uttarakhand Agriculture Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the state has approached Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar to help farmers of the region.
“Around 90 percent of the hilly region is reeling under drought like conditions. The farmers here are suffering huge losses and we have urged the Union Agriculture Minister to look into it and help the farmers of our region,” said Rawat.
Lack of rainfall has meant dipping moisture level in the fields, preventing sowing of any crop in the fields. Due to lack of rainfall, the ground temperature in the fields has also risen making it difficult for the farmers to sow.
The crops hit by lack of rainfall and snow is wheat, potatoes, rice, vegetables like peas, cauliflowers, and fruits like plums, apple, apricot and several lentils as well.
Agriculture is the mainstay of India’’s economy with more than half the population relying on the sector for livelihood. Irregular rainfall, frost, pest infestation, floods all this leads to crops damage worth thousands of rupees every year. (ANI)

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