The Agriculture and Water Resource Committee of the Legislature-Parliament has instructed the government to make necessary arrangements for paddy plantation in the eight districts of tarai region, which have been hit hard due to lack of proper irrigation facility and late monsoon this year.
Rice plantation in the eight districts of mid-tarai — Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa — stood at only around 42 per cent as of yesterday.
In the meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Agricultural Development Minister Bamdev Gautam and senior officers at the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) and Ministry of Irrigation, the parliamentary panel has instructed MoAD to submit the progress report regarding its efforts for paddy plantation in the districts that have been hit by severe drought.
Paddy plantation has been carried out on less than 30 per cent of the total plantation area in Dhanusa, Saptari and Siraha districts. Likewise, paddy plantation has been carried out on 35 per cent of the total plantation area in Mahottari, Sarlahi (52 per cent), Bara (60 per cent) and Parsa (60 per cent), according to the MoAD.
Paddy plantation was carried out on 326,501 hectares of area of these eight districts and contributed one million tonnes out of total 4.79 million tonnes of rice produced in fiscal 2014-15.
The MoAD, in the meeting of the parliamentary committee, informed that a committee has been formed under the convenorship of Deputy Director General of the Department of Agriculture Beni Bahadur Basnet comprising officials from the Department of Irrigation to facilitate plantation by installing shallow tube wells and adopting System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which needs less water and less seedlings, because seedbeds in these districts were overaged or had crossed the plantation period.
According to the MoAD, paddy plantation has been carried out on only 75.74 per cent — 86.43 per cent in high hill areas, 85.14 per cent in mid hill areas and 71.51 per cent in tarai — of the total plantation area of 1,486,951 hectares, due to late monsoon this year.
Paddy is being cultivated on 61,620 hectares in high hills, 409,393 hectares in mid hills and 1,015,933 hectares in tarai.
A version of this article appears in print on August 11, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.