Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Shravan month is nearing end and during this particular period of the year, farmers especially in Odisha usually remain busy in agricultural activities. However, insufficient rain has hit the farmers hard this year like a two-fold setback in times of Covid-19 crisis.

Despite getting good amount of rainfall during the onset of southwest monsoon, several districts of the State are now reeling under deficit rainfall.

The situation is evident from the scenarios at Athagarh in Cuttack, Soro and Bahanaga in Balasore and Sadar block in Jagatsinghpur. Unlike other years when large stretches of farmland used to remain filled with abundant water, they are now lying dry in the absence of sufficient rains.

Drought-like situation prevails in the paddy fields. In some places, people have been seen letting their cattle loose to graze on the paddy fields. Due to lack of rain, agricultural activities have been affected badly.

Though farmers have managed to sow paddy saplings in some places, crop growth has been poor.

“Farmlands are lying dry due to lack of rain. We had prepared the lands for sowing activities but due to dry weather, it has become increasingly difficult," said a farmer in Athagarh.

Arjun Majhi of Soro said, “The amount of rainfall we expected is yet to occur this year. Therefore we are facing problems in sowing.”

Pramod Kumar Das of Jagatsinghpur said, “The July month is nearing end and the sowing should have been completed. However, there is no rainfall and canal is also dried up. Though we are complaining to the administration, they are not paying any heed.”

“The paddy saplings were sown, but the plants are dying due to lack of rain. Canal water is also not being released. We are spraying some amount of water to keep the land moist, but that is not sufficient,” said Batakrushna Behera of Jagatsinghpur.

Speaking to OTV, Executive engineer of irrigation department, Jagatsinghpur, Pratap Kumar Satpathy said, “Weeds were developed in the channel of Taladanda canal. Cleaning is underway and the weeds will be cleared after two days. Thereafter, about 1000 cusec of water will be released and we will be able to supply sufficient water to all canals.”

According to the observation of IMD regional centre, six coastal districts-Puri, Khurda, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack and Balasore have received deficit rainfall between 20 and 59 percent. Puri is the worst-hit district with maximum of 47 per cent deficit rainfall this season.

As on July 21, as many as 19 districts of Odisha have experienced deficit rainfall. The State as a whole has recorded a deficit of 5% as compared to the long term-average.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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