Banke's Narainapur declared dry area, farmers seek relief package


By Siraj Khan, Nepalgunj, Aug. 15: Narainapur Rural Municipality of Banke has been declared a drought-hit area as rice planting and other farming activities could not be done in lack of sufficient rainfall for a long time.

The executive meeting of the Rural Municipality has declared Narainapur a dry area.

Stating that most of the farmers were forced to farm during the rainy season in lack of irrigation system, Ishtiaq Ahmed Sah, Chairman of the Rural Municipality, said that this time due to the lack of precipitation for a long time, no paddy planting has been done and declared as a drought-hit area.

He said that the paddy fields cultivated by some farmers using alternative measures have dried up and the farmers are in trouble.

Bharat Basnet, Chief Administrative Officer of the Rural Municipality, said that due to the lack of water in Narainapur, most of the arable land is barren and the water sources are drying up. So the Rural Municipality has declared the area a drought-prone area. 

He said that hundreds of farmers came to the municipality and expressed their grievances that they were worried about what to eat as the planting could not be done this season.

The majority of the farmers have demanded for deep boring and other alternative arrangements for irrigation in the area, provision of concessional diesel to farmers for irrigation, provision of agricultural electrification for the convenience of farmers, and provision of agricultural meters for tariff-free electricity.

Since the area has been declared dry, the rural municipality has demanded the provincial and federal governments bring a special relief package for the farmers. 

Chairman Sah said that it is necessary to get immediate attention of the provincial and federal governments to the situation where the life of the majority of people dependent on agriculture is becoming difficult due to the drought.

On the other hand, the Agriculture Knowledge Centre, Nepalgunj has reported that 35 per cent of the seedlings have been planted in Narainapur and said that most of them may have dried up due to lack of rain for a long time.

According to Basnet, the same meeting of the executive committee also decided to give an 80 per cent tax discount to the farmers in the area.

Most of the farmers of Narainapur, which is considered to be most remote and backward in the district, have been farming depending on rainwater.

There is hope that construction work of the Sikta Irrigation Project, which is currently ongoing, will reach the municipality and irrigate the land.

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