They have been demanding fertilisers for their fields.
The indefinite relay hunger strike by the paddy farmers, including women, in Kumbi under the Bishnupur district of Manipur entered the third day on Monday. They have been demanding fertilisers for their fields. One farmer said, “The fertiliser has to be applied within August. The rosy picture of the Union government to double the income of the farmer has become hazy and we fear that we cannot produce paddy to feed our families”.
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Complaints of non-distribution of fertilisers before it is too late are being received from all directions. Agriculture Minister Oinam Lukhoi has been saying that there is enough stock of fertilisers. Farmers have been wondering why it is not distributed if what the Minister says is true.
Lisam Nimai, a farmer said, “The officials distribute fertiliser bags on first come, first served basis. So we have to queue in front of the offices shortly after midnight for a bag of fertilisers”. The farmers in Kumbi enjoy the support of three groups. One farmer said, “We need at least 63,000 bags of urea for the 21,000 hectares of paddy field. The district agriculture officer has distributed just 10,000 bags of urea from February to July this year”. The district officers said that fertilisers would be distributed on Monday but the farmers must have submitted all relevant documents to the agriculture office.
On the other hand, the farmers have announced that they will not accept the fertilisers if the required quantum is not given.
Meanwhile, prices of all grades of rice had been jacked up due to the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple landslips along the two hilly national highways which are Manipur’s lifelines.