Suryakant Jena

News Highlights

  • 27 out of 30 districts in Odisha have witnessed a deficiency of around 20 to 59 percent rainfall
  • The BJP has urged Odisha government to set up a task force to deal with possible drought situation

The Odisha government on Monday chalked out a comprehensive action plan to tackle any emerging drought situation in the State which appears increasingly imminent in the wake of an acute deficit in precipitation this season.

As per the data available with the India Meteorological Department, 27 out of 30 districts in Odisha have witnessed deficiency of around 20 to 59 percent rainfall this monsoon. With record of only 584.3 mm of average rainfall between June 1 and August 23, the State's actual precipitation has been hit by 31 percent deficit. However, the State government has so far not declared any district in the State as drought-hit.

Erratic rainfall during the peak farming period has caused severe setback to agricultural activities in almost all districts of the State.

Chairing a high-level executive meeting on ways to face a possible drought situation in the State, the Odisha Chief Secretary is learnt to have approved an emergency action plan to be implemented across the State based on the rainfall situation in the next 10 days.

As per the strategy, the government has planned to activate lift irrigation points at places worst-hit by the shortage of rainfall. Other irrigation facilities will also be set into motion at all Pani Panchayats.

Addressing newsmen after the meeting, State Agriculture Secretary Suresh Basistha said, "Farm labourers will be provided employment opportunities under MGNREGS and other government initiatives."

The Chief Secretary, in the presence of APC and Development Commissioner, has directed the Collectors of all districts to strengthen irrigation sources and prepare a blueprint at Pani Panchayat level so that farming works can be rejuvenated, said Basistha.

Meanwhile, the State unit of BJP today announced that it will visit the drought-prone areas in the State to make an assessment of the ground situation very soon. The party has constituted 4 teams for the review programme under the leadership of former MP Basant Panda, State Krushak Morcha president Pradeep Purohit, ex-Minister Manmohan Samal and Chief Whip of the Opposition, Mohan Majhi.

The BJP has urged the Odisha government to set up a task force to deal with any possible drought situation on a priority basis.

As per expert study, telltale signs of drought are becoming more discernible with every passing day in the State.