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Odisha CM announces special package for drought-hit farmers

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced a special package for the farmers hit by drought in nine districts in the State.

This was decided at a meeting headed by Patnaik at the State Secretariat here this afternoon, an official statement said.

As many as 5,633 villages of 66 Blocks and 16 urban local bodies (ULBs) of nine districts – Baragarh, Bolangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh, were identified as drought affected areas.

The farmers in these districts have suffered crop loss of 33 per cent and above due to moisture stress.

With an to give relief to farmers who have taken credit from different banks, the State government has decided to convert short term kharif loans in the affected areas during kharif 2018 having crop loss of 33 per cent into medium term loan, he said.

Due date of Kharif short term loan advance in the affected areas will be extended up to September 30, 2019 to facilitate conversion of such loans into medium term loans, the official said.

The Central government would be requested to provide interest incentive of 3 per cent for medium term (conversion) loans which is at par with crop loans for prompt paying farmers, he said.

The government has also decided 100 per cent remission in respect of cess on land revenue and compulsory basic water rate will be given to farmers where the crop loss is 33 per cent or more.

Similarly, it has been decided that school fees and school examination fees up to high school level in government schools shall be waived in the affected areas.

In the agriculture sector, agriculture input subsidy will be provided to small and marginal farmers who have suffered crop loss of 33 per cent and above Rs 6,800 per hectare of land in rainfed/non irrigated areas, Rs 13,500 per hectare of land in areas under assured irrigation and Rs 18,000 per hectare for all types of perennial crops.

Agriculture input subsidy will also be given to farmers other than small and marginal farmers at the same rate subject to a ceiling of two hectare per farmer. The assistance would be provided to actual cultivators.

The agricultural input subsidy to any affected farmer will not be less than Rs 2000 for perennial crops and Rs 1000 for other crops.

This apart, it has been decided to distribute 1,00,000 of pulses, 30,000 oilseed mini kits, and 20,000 vegetable seed kits to the drought affected farmers during Rabi 2018-19.

The special package also includes work under MGNREGA by Panchayati Raj and Drinking water department to establish water harvesting structures/de-silting of field channels, diversion weirs etc. Additional 50 man-days will be provided under MGNREGA.