BHUBANESWAR: A committee will be set up at the state level to monitor creation of irrigation potential and closing the gap between the potential created and utilised in this field.
A decision to this effect was taken at the meeting of the agriculture cabinet presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the state secretariat here today.
The committee under the chairmanship of the development commissioner will prepare reports on the irrigation sector on a monthly basis to be submitted to the agriculture cabinet. Stating that
irrigation is one of the primary concerns of the government, the chief minister said the annual target for creating irrigation potential will be 2.5 lakh hectares.
"Emphasis should be on utilising ground water resources through bore wells, shallow tube wells and dug wells," he said.
The chief minister expressed satisfaction over the NSSO report which said Odisha is the only state in the country to have doubled the income for farmers. Stating that increased contribution from animal
farming has played a significant role in doubling of income, he said Odisha has also become rice surplus.
"In fact, we are now the third largest contributor of rice to the Public Distribution System in India," Naveen said, adding, efforts are on to augment the irrigation potential and use of technology.
Chief secretary AP Padhi told mediapersons that out of the target to set up 12,000 deep wells during 2016-17, the government has dug 6500 so far. Remaining 5500 deep wells will be dug by March,
2017, he said.
Padhi said the agriculture cabinet decided to set up a drought management cell under the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) as the state was regularly hit by dry spells affecting
the livelihood of farmers. The cell will keep track on the monsoon and make weather forecast.
The meeting also resolved to undertake improvement of existing canal system so that more agricultural fields get irrigated, he said and added the state government is working with an objective to
further double the income of farmers in the next five years. "The average income of farmers in Odisha in the next five years will be `4,000 per month," he said.
The chief secretary said the farmers of Odisha will soon get the 2015 Kharif crop insurance benefits as the Centre has sanctioned its share of ` 800 crore. "The state government is ready with its
share of Rs 800 crore," he said, adding, the farmers sustained crop damage due to the drought in 2015 Kharif season.
Similarly, a new plant of OMFED to be set up on the outskirts of the capital city near Barang was also approved. The agricultural cabinet met for the this time today after it constituted earlier this