Sharmili Mallick

Odisha Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo on Sunday asked the ground level authorities to maintain a strict vigil on the drought-like situation which has emerged in the State in the wake of a severe deficit in the rainfall this monsoon. 

Sahoo chaired a high-level meeting with district and block level officials of the Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture, Water Division, Livestock Development and Fisheries through video conferencing in this regard on Sunday.

The Minister directed the officials not to leave their office so that condition of the crops can be reviewed from time to time with feedback from the farming community and proper steps can be taken to tackle in case of the occurrence of natural disaster.

Sahoo has also strictly asked officials to keep their mobile phones switch on all the time for necessary dissemination of crucial information for execution on an immediate basis.

As per the new directions issued, officials of block and district level have been asked to provide data of minor irrigation facilities, rainfall and drought situation in their regions regularly. 

Similarly, officials have been instructed to hold block and district level review meetings on all Saturdays at 5 pm.
As per the latest Meteorological data available, Odisha has recorded an average rainfall of 681.9 mm, which is 30% less than the normal rainfall received between June 1 and September 5.

The acute shortage of precipitation this monsoon season has severely hit agricultural activities across the State.

A total of 25 of 30 districts in Odisha have received deficit rainfall between -59% and -20 % in the last three months.

It may be noted that a State or a region is declared to have received deficit rainfall when the deficiency stands at -20%, as per the India Meteorological Department norms.