BHUBANESWAR: Drought-affected farmers in Odisha need immediate compensation in order to survive the impact of crop loss, an inter-ministerial central team said today after assessing the dry spell situation in the state.
"I do not think the farmers will be able to survive this kind of yield. They definitely need compensation. We will give a favourable report," K S Srinivas, joint secretary in the Agriculture Ministry, told reporters here after reviewing drought situation in the state.
Stating that the crop loss was "extensive" and up to 80 per cent in some districts, Srinivas said, "We observed that yield of paddy crop has come down and in some cases there is no sowing at all, field remained fallow. In some cases there is no grain at all."
Srinivas was leading a 10-member team that visited the drought-affected areas of four districts of Kalahandi, Balangir, Bargarh and Nuapada.
The team members held discussion with district officials at the field level and shared their observations with Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi and other government officials here. They also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Secretariat.
Replying to a question, the central team leader said they would submit the report of their visit as early as possible.
"May be, we will submit the report within two weeks," Srinivas said.
Asked whether their assessment report would give a complete picture of drought in the entire state as they visited only four of the 26 districts hit by the calamity, Srinivas said: "It is not possible on our part to go to all the districts. It is generally done in a sample manner."
On the suggestions made to mitigate the drought situation, Srinivas said the state government needs to improve irrigation facilities and stress on micro-irrigation, particularly in the KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region. "The state government can take advantage from different irrigation schemes of the government of India," he said.
"We also observed that apart from rainfed areas, drought is also there in irrigated land. The land in tail-end of canal could not get water," Srinivas said, adding that the central team has taken note of the impact of the drought on the farmers.
Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra claimed that the central team has appreciated the state government's report on the prevailing drought situation.
Of the 13.41 lakh hectare of land affected by the drought, 12.95 lakh hectare were rainfed areas, he pointed out.
Mohapatra said the state government has already submitted two interim memoranda seeking central assistance of Rs 2,199 crore for drought mitigation measures.