Centre releases Rs 600 cr drought aid after Naveen-Modi meet

New Delhi: The Centre has released an amount of Rs 600.52 from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to meet the drought and water scarcity situation in Odisha.

The decision came after Chief Minister Naven Patnaik met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his South Block office.

The amount of Rs 600.52 crore released today after adjustments of the state balances is in addition to the Rs 560.25 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the state. A further amount of Rs. 294.375 crore has been released as the first installment of SDRF for 2016-17, an official release said.

Odisha, it may be noted, had demanded Rs 2300.45 crore to fight drought.

Issues like progress in other agriculture schemes, piped water supply and extension of banking facilities in rural areas also came up for discussion in the meeting in which senior officials of the government of India and the state were present.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister of the measures his government has taken for drought mitigation in the state. Informing the PM that Odisha has completed District Irrigation Plans for all 30 districts as required under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), he reiterated the state’s commitment to implement the scheme expeditiously.

As part of water conservation efforts, the state has constructed 25,000 farm ponds, 7,000 check dams, 4,000 diversion weirs, 4,000 percolation tanks, 400 water harvesting structures and 350 community tanks, Patnaik pointed out.

In the meeting, Patnaik demanded hike of NREGS wage from Rs 174 to Rs 200, grant of Rs 47 crore under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit programme (AIBP) pending for the last four years and grant of Rs 156 crore under the National Project for Repair, Renovation & Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies.

This apart, Patnaik also requested the Prime Minister to complete the repair of Jagamohan, the prayer hall of Srimandir, on a war-footing.