K Sarojkumar Sharma
IMPHAL: The Centre on Saturday declared Manipur as drought-hit after the latter informed Delhi that as many as many as 70 blocks across the state are parched owing to scanty rainfall.
The Centre's decision follows a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Biren Singh earlier in the day. Since 2009, it is the first time that the Centre has declared drought in the state.
An official statement estimated that the significant deficit in rainfall has adversely affected crops across 70 blocks. As per initial estimates, villagers of these blocks have reported crop failure ranging from 33% to more than 50%, based on which they would be categorized as moderately and severely affected by drought.
Prior to the cabinet meeting, Biren was informed that the state suffers from a rain deficit of over 50% and the water deficiency level of the reservoirs is over 60% at another meeting.
As per the government's Manual for Drought Management, at least 10 per cent villagers of the affected blocks are to be surveyed through physical inspection for ground-truthing.
The agriculture department was also directed to issue the drought notification immediately after which the Department of Relief and Disaster Management would prepare a memorandum for relief and submit the same to the government.