MALDA, 23 AUG: To take stock of the damage caused by drought as well as erosion in Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur the state finance minister Dr Asim Kumar Dasgupta along with the disaster management minister Dr Mortoza Hossain, animal resources development minister Mr Narayan Biawas and civil defence minister (state) Dr Srikumar Mukherjee today held an emergent meeting with the district administrative officials of three districts. Later the finance minister told the reporters that the state government has sanctioned Rs 10 crores for drought relief and another Rs 5 crores for anti-erosion work in Malda. Rs 5 crores and Rs 3 crores have also been sanctioned for North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur respectively. He estimated that the total expenditure of the state government to meet the drought-damage in 11 districts might exceed Rs 100 crores.
Dr Dasgupta declared that bank loans allotted to the farmers for cultivation will be waved and they will be given double amount of loans afresh by the banks to meet the loss caused by drought and to enable them in cultivating ‘Ravi’ and ‘Kharif’ crops in the coming season. He informed that out 598 tube wells and pumping machines meant for agricultural-irrigation in Malda 60 were defunct. “5 pumps have already resumed functioning and other 25 pumps will be mended within ten days”, said the minister. He said that there is 22% rainfall-deficit in Malda till date.
Dr Dasgupta said that the state government is well aware of the severity of erosion caused by the river Fulohar in northern region of Malda.” Initially I am allotting Rs 5 crores for anti- erosion activities”, said the finance minister. He assured that there will be no dearth of fund to combat erosion and to protect the embankment of Fulohar.
State disaster management minister Dr Mortoza Hossain said that late rainfall cannot compensate for the damage already caused by drought. “I received some reports from the weather experts which says there will be catastrophic rainfall by 10 September which may cause a fresh peril for Malda”, apprehended Dr Hossain.