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Pti

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today urged the Centre to enhance the quantum of assistance being given to farmers since they have been affected by drought as well as pest attack during this year's Kharif season.

Some districts of Odisha are facing drought situation due to deficient and uneven rainfall during Kharif-2017 and pest attacks in certain districts damaged and destroyed crops.

"The Government of India may kindly permit such expenditure from SDRF by making necessary amendment to the existing SDRF/NDRF norms," Odisha Chief Secretary AP Padhi wrote to Rajiv Gauba, secretary to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

In order to alleviate distress, proposals are placed for consideration and intervention of the central government, Padhi wrote in the letter.

He also said the state government has already initiated various measures to deal with the problem and is implementing a package to give assistance to the affected farmers.

As per the existing norms of assistance from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), farmers are eligible to get agriculture input subsidy of Rs 6,800 per hectare for rainfed areas and Rs 13,500 per hectare for areas under assured irrigation which is quite low compared to the loss incurred by them, Padhi said.

"Therefore, the agriculture input subsidy for the affected farmers may be enhanced at least by 50 per cent. The minimum assistance to farmers may be fixed at Rs 2,000 for rainfed areas and Rs 3,000 for irrigated areas," Padhi wrote in the letter.

The chief secretary said that the existing norms do not provide for expenditure on revival of defunct lift Irrigation points which is crucial in a drought situation both to save the standing crops and for taking up the next crop.

He said, in case of any major disaster, the damaged infrastructure need to be restored urgently. The present norms of SDRF/NDRF permit only temporary/immediate restoration of damaged infrastructure.

"It is proposed that the Government of India may consider making necessary amendment in the existing norms and permit full restoration of all damaged infrastructure caused due to any disaster, out of SDRF/NDRF," Padhi said in the letter.

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