Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: To optimise agriculture productivity in the state, the Odisha government will maximise irrigation potential.

A decision to this effect was taken at the third Agriculture Cabinet meeting presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here today.

Briefing media persons after the meeting, chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said as per the NSSO (National Sample Survey Organisation) statistics available from 2003 to 2013, Odisha is the first state in the country where the average monthly income of the farmers has been doubled. As against the all India average increase in income of farmers which is 34 percent, Odisha has posted 108 percent increase”, Padhi said.

He said in 2003, the average monthly income of the farmers in Odisha was Rs 1000 which has gone slightly over Rs 2000 in 2012-13.

“The meeting discussed about the steps to further double the income of the farmers in the next five years. To achieve the target, the state government will make the irrigation network more intensive and expedite mega lift irrigation projects. It has been planned that there will be 10-15 mega lift irrigation projects in each of the 17 clusters of the state in the next five years. Apart from this, considering that Odisha is behind some states in terms of water usage efficiency, the meeting decided to increase efficiency to ensure more agriculture productivity,” Padhi pointed out.

At present, wastage of water is on higher side than usage of water in Odisha, he added.

To ensure constant flow of water, the state government will expedite repair of canal which are not functioning at present. Besides, emphasis will be given on bore well scheme. There was a target to energise 12,000 bore wells this year of which 6500 bore wells have been energised so far. Efforts will be made to energise the remaining bore wells in next 4-5 months, the chief secretary said.

He also informed that the state government is trying to investment more in Animal Husbandry and Fishing sectors. “The state government has already formulated new policy for these two sectors. A state level committee has been formed under the chairmanship of the Development Commissioner whose responsibility will be to improve the performance of different sectors of Agriculture. The committee has secretaries of Finance, Agriculture, Water Resources, Energy and Panchayati Raj as the members. The committee will monitor the creation of irrigation potential and closing the gap between the potential created and utilised. It will have a review meeting in every month and submit a report to the Agriculture Cabinet,” Padhi said.

He said the chief minister directed the concerned minister to commission a 5-lakh litre capacity plant of Odisha Milk Federation (OMFED) near Barang on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar within two years.

The chief secretary also informed that the state government will form a Drought Management Cell for the Odisha Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) which will provide advance information regarding drought to the government and the farmers. “Through this process, there will be more installation of automatic weather stations rain gauges throughout the state. This will help the state government to get advance information on weather and rainfall and effectively use the satellite data for drought management,” he said.

The chief minister informed the meeting that from being a rice deficit state in 2000, Odisha has now become the third largest contributor of rice to the public distribution system (PDS) in the country. “The chief minister also gave direction to give more efforts to further increase agriculture productivity in the state which will benefit the farmers,” the chief secretary said.

The meeting also revealed that the state government has sanctioned about Rs 800 crore towards crop insurance. Besides, the Centre has also released its crop insurance share. “Put together, we will disburse about Rs 1700 crore odd pending crop insurance of the farmers since last year within a few days,” Padhi said.