Lok Sabha

July 31, 2014

Tapas Mandal speaks on the flood and drought situation in India | Transcript

Tapas Mandal speaks on the flood and drought situation in India | Transcript

India has a varied situation in different parts. Sometimes in the same year simultaneously it faces drought in one part and flood in another part. It is difficult to control the situation. If we consider water, it gives us life and takes away life. Only the amount matters, the abundance or absence.

This year we are having a problem of drought. We received less amount of rainfall this year: 56% in the Central India, 20% deficit in West Bengal. We have got severely affected this year. In West Bengal the cultivation of jute is under threat. In the month of April and May the situation has worsened. So I request the Minister to take some steps so that the farmers can get some help at least.

Recently there has been a MOU between the Central Ground Water Board and Indian Institute of Remote Sensing to survey the situation of lands and for that only Rs 100 crore have been proposed and that is restricted to the northern India. So, I request the Minister that the MOU between these two institutes be extended all over the country so that the benefits may be extended to all farming communities of this country.

This year the drought situation is alarming. In the crop management area, what is urgently required, is the introduction of crop diversification. We are traditionally growing rice, wheat etc. But it is the time to adopt different types of crops so that the loss faced by the farmers may be minimized. Among these crops, legume crops – arhar, til, castor, soybean – are some of the crops that can be grown with less amount of water.

Water Management is another important factor. Day by day we are facing scarcity of water. So this is a problem for next years to come. For this, better management practice is required. We need to grow those crops that require less water, those crops having deep root system so that they can tap water from the deeper regions of the soil. So the research needs to be directed to those areas where less water consuming crops can be grown satisfactorily to cater to the needs of the farming community of this country.

Some institutional supports are required for credit facilities to be extended to the farming communities. Sometimes huge amount of investment is required in the allied sectors. And obviously, there is the crop insurance. These are some of the major areas that need to be addressed and that should be taken into consideration by the Ministry.

One important institute that is situated in Hyderabad is CRIDA, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture. It is only centered at Hyderabad and not the other parts of the country. I urge upon the minister to look into the matter and set up different branches of this premiere institute in different parts of this country where similar kind of climatic factor prevails. In case of West Bengal, districts like Purulia and Bankura where dry land is there, scarcity is there, the Government can set up a centre of CRIDA so that the farmers of that area can utilize the expertise generated from this centre.

Another important aspect is the introduction of micro-irrigation system. What we are using right now is the flood irrigation system, feature irrigation system but the micro-irrigation system is one of the major ways to mitigate the problem. If we introduce this micro-irrigation system at a large scale, then we can make better use efficiency of water; we can save water for our future generation.

DVC is another important project of the Govt. of India where dredging is pending for the last 66 years. Just after independence, the dam was constructed and the project was launched and still dredging has not been adopted to make recovery. If siltation is not taking place, then the capacity of the reservoir becomes low but due to repeated siltation the problem aggravates and it results in the frequent occurrence of flood on both parts of West Bengal and adjacent states. I urge upon the Minister to look into the matter so that at least dredging of DVC canal should be in place.

In my constituency, the beds of the rivers Ichhamati and Churni are at high level. Every year, the people of this area are affected by floods. I request the Minister to take necessary steps to dredge the rivers so that the people of the area will be benefited.