Bhubaneswar: With monsoons receding, the spectre of drought is looming over many parts of Western Odisha. Farming is visibly affected by scanty rainfall in as many as 5 districts. Anticipating a drought-like situation, the State government has started collecting data in Deogarh, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Jharsuguda and Bolangir.
The aforementioned districts have received the less than average rainfall in the current monsoon season. While at some places soil cracks are opening up, elsewhere in Bolangir district, paddy fields are wilting due to lack of water.
A drought-like situation is already a reality in areas like Tureikela, Bangomunda, Muribahal, Saintala amongst others in Titlagarh subdivision of Bolangir district which have received less than 27 per cent of the normal rainfall.
“This time round, crops have totally been wiped out by drought. Over 80 per cent of our cultivation has turned into grass,” said a farmer.
“We have taken loans to cultivate paddy and the crop is totally damaged. Rainfall during monsoon is helpful but during Dussehra it is of no use. We are helpless now,” said another farmer from the area.
“Barring the high and low lying areas, paddy crop has been affected in medium altitude fields. If any crop loss is identified, the State government will announce required assistance for the farmers,” said Titlagarh sub-collector Kailash Sahoo.
On the other hand, the crop cutting survey is underway. For the first time, the survey is being conducted through smart phones for which 3970 officials have been given the responsibility. Crop cutting data will be collected from 25,000 plots out of which data have been collected from 570 plots.
“This initiative is basically for crop insurance but, it can be used in other areas like production. Through smart phones were are getting the information quickly and we will be able to hand over the data to the state government within the deadline of January 15, 2017,” said Agriculture director Pramod Meherda.