BHUBANESWAR: The Central team, which is in Odisha to assess the drought situation, has found the crop loss situation to be critical as mentioned in the financial memorandum submitted by the State Government.
The team, led by Joint Secretary (Marketing) to Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Ministry K Srinivas, called on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after a wrap-up meeting with Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi and senior officers of the State Government here on Saturday.
Talking to mediapersons, Srinivas said the team came across crop loss in the region of 80 per cent in some pockets of the affected districts. Besides, wherever the damage has been extreme, entire crop is gone. In such areas, they need compensation for sustenance, he said.
The Central team visited Balangir, Kalahandi, Nuapada and Bargarh during the last two days. During the wrap-up meeting, the State Government officials explained to them the demand placed before the Centre and the mitigation measures undertaken to tackle the situation.
Sources said the administration pointed out that the Government has stepped into re-phase the short-term kharif loans extended to the farmers and a major chunk of the financial assistance sought from the Centre is meant to recover the same so that refinance could be made during the next season.
Srinivas said the team will submit its report to the Centre within 7-15 days. During the meeting with the senior officials, the team also advised that irrigation coverage needs to be augmented so that farmers do not remain at the mercy of the rain.
The total demand for assistance from the Centre currently stands at `2,199.06 crore. On November 23, the Government had submitted its first interim memorandum seeking `1,687 crore towards drought relief and mitigation. It had calculated crop loss over 8.82 lakh hectare in 173 blocks of 25 districts where crop loss was estimated at 33 per cent and more.
It revised the estimates on Monday when an additional ` 511.5 crore was sought as prolonged dry spell had led to crop loss in more areas. As per cumulative reports, crops over 13.41 lakh ha in 215 blocks of 26 districts have suffered a loss of 33 per cent and more. As part of the drought mitigation measures, the Government had earlier estimated `416.27 crore to be disbursed immediately as agriculture input subsidy. However, the figure has risen as the crop loss area has increased and the State requires an additional amount of `511.5 crore on this head.