Bhubaneswar: In what may turn out to be a major relief for farmers, the Odisha government in a clear shift from the earlier practice of waiting for crop cutting report to declare panchayats as drought affected, it will instead declare a panchayat as dry spell affected in the event of it receiving less than 50% rainfall from the normal for three consecutive weeks at a stretch.
The affected panchayats will be declared as dry spell affected, informed Revenue Minister Maheswar Mohanty.
This is for the first time the State government has made such an announcement which in all likelihood is going to benefit farmers in receiving assistance for crop loss a little early as compared to previous years.
“The earlier practice was to assess crop loss after cutting/harvesting of the crop. In the current year panchayats receiving less than 50% normal rainfall for three consecutive weeks will be considered as dry spell affected since crop survival in such situations is remote,” stated Mohanty to reporters.
The Minister informed that his department was yet to receive the complete report on the drought situation in the State from the District Collectors while adding that drought situation will be discussed at the review meeting scheduled on October 10 after reports are available from the District Collectors.
“We are in the process of collecting that information. Since it will be declared panchayat-wise it is taking a little more time to get a real picture of the situation,” the Minister explained.
However, Mohanty said that there has been a slight improvement in the drought-like situation in the State following rains recently resulting in a drop in the number of blocks receiving deficient rainfall from the earlier 103 blocks to 96.
On the other hand, senior BJP leader Bhrugu Baxipatra has tweeted and criticized the Revenue Minister for continuing with his flip-flop while drought looms large over many districts in the state. He hoped that the government won’t hide the truth.
While Revenue Minister’s flip-flop continues, drought situation looms large in many districts. Hope Govt does not hide the truth. #Odisha
— Bhrugu Baxipatra (@BhruguBJP) September 22, 2017