Odisha drought situation gloomy, says central team

Bhubaneswar, Dec 5 (IANS) After its two-day review of the drought situation in Odisha, a central team on Saturday admitted that the situation in the state is gloomy with over 80 percent crop loss in many areas.

“Extensive damage of crops, especially paddy, has taken place in many areas. We have seen that while there was no sowing in some areas, some places have no grain. The farmers need compensation to sustain their livelihood,” said K.S. Srinivasan, joint secretary, department of agriculture and cooperation, ministry of agriculture.

The 10-member central team on Saturday discussed the drought situation with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi here.

Srinivasan said the team would prepare its report and submit it to the agriculture ministry within a week or two, recommending compensation to the farmers.

He said the state government has been asked to improve irrigation facilities in the rain-fed areas to meet the drought situation in the state.

Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said the central team has admitted the state is facing a severe drought situation, vindicating the drought assessment report sent earlier to the central government.

The state government has sought a total assistance of Rs.2,199.066 crore from the central government.

It had submitted an interim memorandum seeking assistance of Rs.1,687.561 crore and later submitted another memorandum seeking additional assistance of Rs.511.507 crore to mitigate the drought situation in the state, said Mohapatra.

The central team visited four districts of western Odisha to assess the drought situation.

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