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Drought-scare in 19 blocks across 8 Odisha districts

Bhubaneswar/Bhawanipatna/Nuapada: With scanty rainfall in 19 blocks across eight districts of Odisha triggering drought-scare, the State government said that it is fully prepared to face any eventuality.

The situation is so severe in these 19 blocks that farmers are seen manually spraying water on half-germinated paddy seeds to keep them alive while pinning their hopes on rain. According to sources, farmlands in some blocks have developed cracks while others have turned into grazing grounds for cattle, without rain.

A farmer from Kalahandi district said “I am worried as to how I will do farming without rainfall.”

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Similar situation can be seen in Khariar and Sinapli blocks of Nuapada district where the paddy saplings have been affected by dry spell. In Bolangir district’s Belpada, Muribahal, Bongomunda and Tureikela blocks paddy seeds have not even germinated and the situation is grim.

“Seeds have not germinated due to lack of rainfall. Now I am worried how I will repay loans as there is no hope of getting normal yield this season,” said a farmer of Nuapada district.

As per data received from the office of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), there was scanty rainfall in eight districts from June 1 till August 4. The affected districts were Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Sundergarh, Deogarh, Angul, Bolangir and Nuapada.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture department agreed that the situation might turn grim if there is no rainfall in coming days. However, Agriculture Minister, Pradeep Maharathy said special arrangements will be made in view of the situation.

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“The State government is making arrangements to provide suitable seeds which could survive in heavy or deficit rainfall. But in areas where there is no chance of seeds germinating, Rabi seeds will be provided,” Maharathy added.

Agriculture department secretary, Sourav Garg said, “In some blocks there is less rainfall. However, if the rainfall revives in coming days, the shortfall will be replenished. When the government thinks an intervention is needed, it will step in.”

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