Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government has strongly protested the Centre's decision to cut the financial assistance for drought in 2015 by Rs 214 crore.
Though the Centre had announced financial assistance of Rs 815 crore for Odisha drought in 2015 which affected 28 of the total 30 districts, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in a letter to the state government on January 22 this year stated that it would provide drought assistance of Rs 600.52 crore as against Rs 815 crore it had announced earlier, the sources said.
While justifying the reduction in assistance, the Home ministry stated in a letter that Rs 215 crore was pending on the state government from the previous year for which it decided to cut 20 per cent of the assistance from the announced amount.
The state government in its reply on February 5 this year demanded immediate assistance to the drought-hit farmers of the state.
"Though the Centre announced Rs 815 crore for the drought assistance, till date not a single rupee has been released for the purpose," a senior officer in Revenue department said.
"We have requested the Centre in a letter on February 5 this year to provide the total assistance without deducting the assistance from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
We are yet to get any response from the Centre till date. But the manner in which the Centre has revised its drought assistance for the state, we can say this is a gross apathy of the Centre towards the state," BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.