Deficient in rains has led to a drought-like condition in many parts of Mandi district, threatening the paddy crops and sowing of corn seeds.
Meteorological department has predicted more than 40% less monsoon this year in the state and the scanty rainfall during pre-monsoon has delayed planting of paddy and sowing of corn seeds in the fields. Both the crops require huge quantity of water at the time of plantation.
Most affected areas, include Sarkaghat, Drang, Karsog segments and a few parts of the border areas of Sundernagar sub-division where there is shortage of natural water sources and people depend upon the rains. The public health department has miserably failed to provide irrigation water to these draught prone areas.
The state government has included the construction of rainwater storage tanks from the funds of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) at village and gram panchayat level to meet the scarcity of water needed to feed small fields and domestic cattle.
District Mandi administration has sanctioned 247 rainwater storage tanks in government schools out of which 113 have been completed to use the storage water for toilets and cleanliness on the school premises.
“We are already late in planting paddy and sowing corn seeds in the fields due to scanty pre-monsoon rains and if situation was not improved within a week or two, then around 80% farmers of the district will lose their present crops which means loss of crores due to deficient rains during the monsoon,” said KS Sharma, retired agriculture officer of Mandi town.
Only 20% people have natural source of irrigation water through small rivers or nulhas and a few areas have been facilitated through government irrigation schemes, but majority of farmers depend upon the monsoon and loss of their crop means the small farmers will lose their source of food for the next coming year, says Sharma.