Siang valley of Arunachal faces drought-like situation

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By Prafulla Kaman

PASIGHAT, Aug 20: Heat wave due to scanty rainfall this summer is affecting wet cultivation in the rice bowls of East Siang and parts of Lower Siang districts bordering to Dhemaji in Assam.

The region experienced the season’s hottest day on Sunday with the mercury level crossed 40 degrees Celsius. However, no case of any heat stroke-related death has been reported so far in the area.

The region has witnessed scorching heat due to scanty rainfall for last couple of weeks and the farmers are keeping their finger crossed, staring at the skies and hoping for last wave of the monsoon rain of this season. The fortnight-long dry spell has not only sent the mercury soaring but also led to drying up of natural irrigation channels, perennial streams and nallahs in Pasighat, Mebo, Ruksin, Bilat and Sille-Oyan Agriculture Development Circles, which is considered as rice bowl in the district are drying up thereby created problems in wet cultivation.

The water level in the Siang River and its tributaries is also receding due to scanty rain. Sources in the agriculture department said that the ADOs concerned paid field visit and submitted report about the drought-like situation in rice bowls of East Siang district, but the district administration is yet to declare the district as ‘drought affected’.

Meanwhile, the local MLAs of three assembly constituencies of East Siang district have visited the drought-hit farming sites in their respective constituencies and taken stock of the disparaging situation. They would also place the report before the state government for taking up compensatory cultivation scheme for the drought-hit farmers, who survive on agriculture and allied activities.

Similar situation has been reported from Nari-Seren and Koyu area in Lower Siang district, wherein the farmers demand the state government to take up appropriate step for mitigation of the drought- like situation.

The report of the Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) during June this year stated that Arunachal Pradesh and four other Northeastern states, including Assam were facing deficit monsoon rain. The state with 511.8 mm of rainfall till the end of June, recorded a 32 per cent deficit rainfall against the normal of 749.1 mm.

The water resource division in East Siang has recorded 640.70 and 1003.50 mm rainfall in the months of June and July this year respectively. The department has recorded only six rain days in the current month till date.


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