Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 4:
On the second day of their tour to Odisha, the inter-ministerial team formed by Union Agriculture Ministry today visited Bolangir and Kalahandi districts to assess the drought condition.
A five member group of the ten member central team today visited Deogaon and Bangamunda areas of Bolangir district. The team held talks with farmers and local government officials including the district collector. Local farmers were seen pleading for government help at various places throughout the tour.
“I had cultivated two acres of land but lost all my crop due to drought. I have a five member family to take care of. I don’t know how I would manage through the rest of the year. I asked the visiting delegation for government help. They visited my field and inquired about the amount I spent on cultivation,” said a malnourished looking farmer in Bolangir.
“From what we have seen so far, the drought is evident. At places there is partial crop loss and at others the drought condition is really bad. Precautionary measures need to be taken so that such a condition doesn’t arise again,” said one of the central delegates.
The other five member team led by Union Joint Secretary of Agriculture KS Srinivasan visited Sadar, Kesinga, Narigaon areas of Kalahandi district.
“The officers today visited our land and saw the irrigation system that has been lying defunct since past four years. We are in a pathetic condition. Hopefully they will help,” said a farmer in Kesinga.
“There has been massive crop loss here. At places, the farmers were not able to cultivate their land. At others, they managed to cultivate but the yield has not been up to expectation. At most places, the crop loss has been more than 50 percent,” said a member of the central team visiting Kesinga.
The teams would hold a meeting with the Chief Secretary in the Secretariat tomorrow before leaving for New Delhi. Later, they would submit their assessment report to the Union Agriculture Ministry.
The visit follows the State Government’s request to the Center for interim drought relief of Rs 1,687 crore.