Centre approves Rs 815 cr drought package for Odisha

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The central government on Wednesday approved financial assistance of Rs 815 crore for drought affected Odisha from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). In November last, the State government had submitted to the Centre a memorandum seeking Rs 2199 for drought relief.

The decision was taken at a high-level committee meeting in New Delhi chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the situation in drought-affected states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.

The committee granted monetary assistance to all states except Telangana. The decision about the state has been deferred till next week.

Andhra Pradesh was allocated Rs.433.77 crore while Uttar Pradesh got Rs.1,304.52 crore to deal with the situation. The committee examined proposals based on reports of the central team, which visited the affected states.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other senior government officials attended the meeting.

Reacting to the drought assistance, special relief commissioner (SRC) PK Mohapatra said, “We will request the Centre for an additional drought relief package after the final crop cutting report reaches us within a week. We hope we’ll be able to convince the Centre on this.”

In the memorandum, the State government had demanded Rs 416.274 crore for agriculture input subsidy (as cash incentive), Rs 66 crore for conversion of crop loan advance during the kharif season, Rs 52.49 crore for revival of minor irrigation projects, Rs 72 crore for provision of fodder, including water supply and medicine in cattle camps, Rs 9 crore for strengthening of fodder resources, Rs 200 crore as food assistance and Rs 24 crore for emergency drinking water supply.

“Altogether 8,82,770 hectares of farmland in 173 blocks of 25 districts have been affected by drought during kharif this year. More than 33% crop loss has been reported in more than six lakh hectares of farmland,” the State government’s report on drought said, adding, 1.51 crore people have been affected by the drought.