Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government Monday said the cultivation activities in 102 blocks spread over 20 districts have been severely affected due to deficient rainfall during the ongoing Kharif season.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Sudam Marndi said that the state government was very sensitive towards the situation faced by the farmers. The district collectors have been asked to closely monitor the situation and inform the government about the changing dry spell situation, he said.
Stating that the last week’s rainfall has brought some improvement in the situation in the districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Dhenkanal and some other districts, the minister said the forecast of a normal monsoon has not been applicable for Odisha.
The state received 16.6 per cent less rainfall in the month of June while it was 21.3 per cent in July and 44.7 per cent in August. The cumulative deficit of rainfall during the peak monsoon session from June to September 2 was minus 29.3 percent. The minister pointed out.
He added that all the water reservoirs also face shortage of water and some of them are not in a position to release water for irrigation. However, the government has implemented the Contingency Crop Plan and is making all efforts to survive the existing crop in districts, the Minister said adding that there are specific norms for declaration of drought in the State.
As per the manual for Drought Management, the drought is declared by October 30. “We are closely monitoring the rainfall deficiency, crop situation, remote sensing based Vegetation Indices, soil moisture and hydrological indices,” he said and assured the House that the state government was taking appropriate measures to tide over the situation.
The drought issue was debated in the State Legislative Assembly here after the government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick moved a motion. Both the opposition parties were demanding a threadbare discussion on the prevailing dry spell situation which is gradually taking the shape of an acute drought.
Participating in the debate, BJP Chief Whip Mohan Majhi said that the state’s BJD dispensation has completely failed to address the drought-like situation even as the party has been ruling over Odisha since over two decades.
“The government has never risen to the occasion and made any long term action plan to overcome the dry spell situation even as drought hit the state frequently. The BJD government also failed to keep its promises and provide 35 per cent irrigation facilities to the agricultural land in each district,” Mr.Majhi said.
The BJP Lawmakers demanded that the government must declare drought immediately and provide assistance to the affected farmers in order to bail them out of the situation. The farmers are already in a deep crisis due to the pandemic situation, they said.
Congress Lawmaker Adhiraj Panigrahi demanded that the farmers should be provided with input subsidy of Rs 20,000 by the central government and an equal amount by the state government. The farmers have been hard hit by the drought-like situation and the government has failed to meet the requirements of the cultivators during this crisis period.