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Violence-gripped Manipur stares at food shortage

Updated on: 06 July,2023 07:49 AM IST  |  Imphal
Agencies |

Schools reopen after over two months, but attendance thin on Day 1

Violence-gripped Manipur stares at food shortage

Security forces lob teargas shells to disperse a mob in Khangabok, on Tuesday. Pic/PTI

The violence in Manipur has taken a hit on agriculture, as many farmers have been unable to tend to their fields, and if the situation does not improve, food production in the state will be affected, a senior official said on Wednesday. Department of Agriculture Director N Gojendro said farmers were unable to cultivate at least 5,127 hectares of land, leading to a loss of 15,437.23 metric tonnes until June 28.

‘Loss will increase, if...’

“If the farmers are unable to cultivate paddy this monsoon season, the loss will increase by the end of July. The department has, however, readied fertilisers and seeds that can be harvested in a shorter period of time and required lesser amount of water,” he said.

There are around 2-3 lakh farmers in the state cultivating paddy on 1.95 lakh hectares of agricultural land.

Thoubal district has the highest yield per hectare in the state, he said. Farmers fear that there might be a shortage of locally grown ‘Meitei Rice’, leading to price rise next year, if farming is not carried out in full swing in all areas by the end of this month.

Barring a few, many farmers are abstaining from farming in the peak season for fear of their lives. Thokchom Milan, a farmer from Moidangpokpi, said, “Incidents of firing on farmers from bunkers of militants on hilltops has paralysed paddy cultivation in the periphery of Imphal Valley.”

“Some of us go to the fields with fear in our hearts but we have to cultivate else we will go hungry an entire year,” he said. Chief Minister N Biren Singh had earlier said that 2,000 state forces have been deployed in sensitive areas to patrol and provide security to farmers during cultivation.

Fresh firing, arson 

Intermittent firings were witnessed in two places in the state, the latest being at 4.30 am on Wednesday, but no casualties have been reported so far, security sources said here. On Tuesday night, an irate mob torched the house of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel in Manipur’s Thoubal district, police said on Wednesday.

The incident took place at Samaram after a 27-year-old man, identified as Ronaldo, was killed in a clash when a 700-800-strong mob tried to storm the camp of the 3rd IRB at Wangbal, 4 km away, to loot firearms. The forces tried to bring the situation under control and used teargas shells and rubber bullets at first. But as the armed mob opened fire, the forces shot back, officers said.

Nearly 120 people have died and over 3,000 have been hurt since May 3. 

Students attend a class at a school, on Wednesday. Pic/PTIStudents attend a class at a school, on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

Low attendance on Day 1 of school after 2 months

After remaining shut for more than a couple of months because of ethnic clashes, schools up to Std VIII reopened across Manipur on Wednesday. Though attendance in most institutes was extremely low on the first day, students, parents and guardians welcomed the state government’s decision to resume classes. Most students with whom PTI interacted were happy to get back to school. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Education is the key and I sincerely hope that peace returns to the state,” said Bhabesh Sharma, father of a Std IV 4 student. “I am not scared to send my kids to school because the institute lies in the heart of Imphal. But it will be great if the government makes arrangements for the safety of students,” Laishram Ibochouba, another parent, said.

This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

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