Bhubaneswar: With Odisha hit by acute dry spell situation due to deficient and uneven rainfall during the Kharif season this year, the government sent an interim report to the Centre on Monday seeking drought assistance of Rs 1,687 crore.
"The government of Odisha in this report is seeking an interim assistance of Rs 1,687.561 crore from the Centre in order to provide relief to the people in affected areas and take mitigation measures," Special Relief Commissioner(SRC) P K Mohapatra told reporters here.
About 1.5 crore people have been affected in the drought which caused crop damage in over 8,82,720 hectares of land spread over 173 blocks in 25 districts, the interim report said, adding that the disaster in its fold is likely to bring an array of associated hazards which need to be tackled without loss of time.
"Considering these facts, the need for central assistance to take up different mitigation measures in the drought affected areas deserves priority and focused attention," the report said.
It mentioned Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Khordha, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Puri, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur and Sundargarh districts as those hit by the drought.
Only five of the total 30 districts - Bhadrak, Deogarh, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Malkangiri were not in the list of districts hit by the drought this time, Mohapatra said.
Asked about the requirement of Rs 1,687 crore, Mohapatra said while Rs 416.274 crore is meant for distribution of agriculture input subsidy among the affected farmers, Rs 916.66 crore was needed for conversion of crop loans advanced during the Kharif season of 2015.
Another Rs 52.49 crore is required for revival of minor irrigation projects including lift irrigation points, he said.
Earlier, the state government in its drought package had announced to convert all crop loans to medium term loans in areas where crop loss is between 33 per cent to 50 per cent.
It had also promised that the tenure of loan repayment would be increased to five years with moratorium period of one year where crop loss is 50 per cent or above.