Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 5:
The central team which was on a two-day visit to Odisha to assess the drought situation today corroborated the drought report submitted by the state government to the Centre.
The 10-member inter-ministerial team formed by Union Agriculture Ministry arrived at the capital city today after wrapping up its visit to four drought-hit districts in the state yesterday. The panel met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi today at the state secretariat here.
The members discussed the drought situation with the state government and are expected to submit their report in a week’s time.
Some parts in Bargarh, Bolangir, Kalahandi and Nuapada have suffered crop loss to the extent of 80 percent. Despite having irrigation facilities, some areas in these districts have suffered crop loss. In view of this, they need immediate assistance, a member of the central team informed.
Notably, the state government has sought Rs 1687 crore and Rs 511 crore amounting to Rs 2199 crore on two occasions on account of drought assistance from Centre.
“The team which had split into two and visited four districts to assess drought situation today met chief minister, chief secretary and secretaries of various departments in the secretariat. The team has accepted that drought has affected the areas they had visited. They have accepted that there is veracity in our report sent to Centre. We have urged them to submit their assessment report at the earliest,” Special Relief Commissioner, Pradipta Mohapatra said.
“We visited four district– Bargarh, Bolangir, Kalahandi and Nuapada—on December 3 and 4. We appreciate the extent of crop damage. We had discussions with state government officials and the chief secretary. We will prepare our report and submit it as early as possible,” K S Srinivas, joint secretary in the Agriculture Ministry, told reporters here after reviewing drought situation in the state.
“We observed that yield of paddy crop has come down and in some cases there is no sowing at all, field remained fallow. In some cases there is no grain at all. Even though there are canals in these areas, water is not there in the system,” he added.
The Central team would leave for New Delhi later in the evening today.