Drought spectre looms large over Kandhamal

Kandhamal: Scanty rainfall in over 23 districts of the State is raising concern for the farmers. Over 37% rain deficit this monsoon has led to drought-like situation in Kandhamal. While 50,000 hectres of lands were used for agriculture every year, this year most of the lands have remained barren.

Meanwhile, farming has been possible only on the low line lands but that might get affected too if rain deficit continues to hit the district. This has triggered worries for the farmers.

Earlier yesterday, Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik reviewed the drought hit areas in the State and asked the agriculture department to submit a report within seven days on the possible impact.

State Agriculture Minister Pradeep Kumar Maharathy said farmers in the 103 blocks have been facing difficult situation due to scanty rainfall and he would personally tour those places from September 25. He also added that the government may announce a package for the farmers only after getting report from the ground level. Also the agriculture department is planning to provide free kits to the farmers to boost the production of rabi crops.

Meanwhile, the government has directed to activate all the lift irrigation points and expedite deep bore well works providing 40,000 pumps sets to the farmers in the affected areas at subsidised price. Besides, 1lakh quintal tonne of short-term rice seeds are kept in stock for the farmers in drought-hit areas.

As per reports, 103 blocks in over 23 districts of Odisha has been affected due to scanty rainfall. The worst hit districts were identified as Bargarh, Balangir, Boudh, Dhenkanal, Kandhamal, Khurda, Keonjhar and Subarnapur.

However, Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik said all required steps are being taken by the government to save the crops.