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Loken criticises his predecessor on failure of irrigation projects
Correspondent IMPHAL, May 31:
Published on 31 May. 2009 11:54 PM IST
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Manipur agriculture minister, N Loken who is also holding the charge of minor irrigation on Sunday blamed his predecessor for not taking up works in the interest of the welfare of the farmers. Speaking as chief guest at the Farmers Meet 2009 held at GM Hall, Imphal, Loken said the failure of minor irrigation projects was due to the non-implementation of various schemes and for which the farmer were unable to avail the benefits. He alleged that his predecessor did not take up construction of small dams and lift irrigation system but only gave emphasis on the construction of canals. He strongly charged the former minister of making money in collusion with the contractors. Ph Parijat of CPI was the minister for agriculture and minor irrigation till a reshuffle was effected in the present Congress-CPI coalition of SPF government led by O. Ibobi Singh. “My predecessor constructed plenty of irrigation canals which can be seen in every nook and corner of the state but no dam for supply of water was constructed,” he criticized. Meanwhile Loken stated that he was in consultation with officials of agriculture and minor irrigation departments to chalk out plans to construct dams and canals so that farmers would get water all year round. He also expressed concern over the shrinking of agricultural areas in the state due to increase of various other developments in these areas. Agriculture contributes 80 percent of Manipur’s economy. Therefore, to bring development into the state, enhancement of agriculture and the productivity of agricultural produce are needed. “Considering the diminishing of agricultural areas, introduction of double and triple crops is a must. For this, a good irrigation system is required as farmers cannot depend only on rain,” Loken said. He further said that his department is getting ready for launching of Krishi Vigyan Bikash Yojana (KVBY) in the state as a part of another initiative for the welfare of poor farmers. For this, Rs 25 crores has been earmarked from the state annual budget 2009-10, he announced. As part of the programme, state agriculture department also awarded prizes to the position holders of 2008 season crop competition for the farmers applying Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method of cultivation. The event was marked by interaction and exchange of ideas among the farmers and agricultural scientists of the Central Agricultural University and experts from the state agriculture department.

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