Bhubaneswar: Soon after cyclone Titli left a trail of devastation in 17 districts of Orissa, the spectre of drought has already eclipsed nine more districts.
In order to face the stern reality brought about by the vagaries of nature, the state government Thursday declared drought in some pockets spread over nine districts and authorised the respective district collectors to undertake relief measures following the norm.
As many as 5,633 villages (1186 panchayats) in 66 blocks and 16 urban local bodies (ULBs) of nine districts – Baragarh, Bolangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh –have suffered crop loss of 33 per cent and above due to moisture stress, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said here Thursday. Crop damage has been reported over 2,33,173 hectares from these areas, he said.
“Accordingly, the state government has declared drought of moderate and severe natures in these areas and authorised the collectors to undertake relief measures,” he said.
The State Drought Monitoring Cell has been monitoring the drought situation, while studying different parameters prescribed in the manual for Drought Management, 2016.
Official sources said there is rainfall deviation of 39 per cent to 59 per cent (deficit) in five blocks – Muribahal, Loisinga and Belapada of Bolangir district and two blocks – Sundargarh Sadar and Tangarapalli of Sundargarh District.
Another 30 blocks in 12 districts experienced deficit rainfall (shortfall between 19 per cent and 39 per cent), while 100 blocks in 19 districts have experienced dry spell of continuous three weeks and more, he said.
Accordingly, the Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Department, and the collectors were requested to take up joint verification of the crop condition in the field.
The SRC office said the cumulative average rainfall in Odisha from June 1 to October 20 was surplus of 17.2 per cent over the long-term average.
According to Joint Relief Commissioner PR Mohapatra, input subsidy would be provided to the affected farmers from State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).
As per norms, he said, agriculture input subsidy will be provided to farmers who have suffered crop loss of 33 per cent and above. While Rs 6,800 per hectare will be given in rainfed/non irrigated areas, Rs 13,500 per hectare in areas under assured irrigation, Mohapatra said.
The assistant will be provided relief for two hectares per farmer. If a farmer suffers crop loss in four hectares, he will get a compensation for two hectares, sources said.