BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Government on Tuesday announced an additional input subsidy worth Rs 100 crore for farmers in drought-affected areas of the State.
“As part of the drought assistance, the State Government has already provided Rs 113 crore input subsidy to affected farmers. In view of the demand for more input subsidy, the Government will provide additional Rs 100 crore out of its own fund,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra told mediapersons here.
Asked if share coppers will benefit from this assistance, Mohapatra said the Government has already made it clear that the aid will be extended to actual cultivators.
Clarifying the confusion over Rs 380 crore Central assistance approved by the high level committee (HLC) meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday, Mohapatra said the Natural Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) aid was for Phailin. The HLC reviewed the decision in the case of Odisha and approved an assistance of Rs 380 crore as against Rs 399.83 crore demanded by the State.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in November to sanction Rs 399.83 crore Phailin assistance from NDRF which was pending due to an erroneous assessment.
After the State Government pointed out the error, the Union Home Ministry in September, 2014 informed that Rs 399.83 crore had been approved. The Centre sanctioned the pending amount on Monday.
The SRC further said the Centre has not released any drought assistance to the State yet. The Central team, which visited the State recently, submitted its report to the Centre on December 19. The exact amount of assistance will be known after the report is reviewed in two stages, Mohapatra said.
In the first stage, the report will be reviewed by the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) in a meeting to be presided by the Union Agriculture Minister.
“Most likely, I will be called to attend the meeting where the report of the Central team will be discussed. The IMG will seek the opinion of the State Government on the report of the Central team,” he said. After the IMG review, the report will be placed before the HLC for a final decision, he said.
The Government will submit its final report on crop damage by January 15 on the basis of crop cutting report. There will be hardly any changes in the final report as the number of affected blocks has remained same, the SRC said. The Government will issue a notification mentioning the total number of blocks affected by drought in the State after obtaining the crop cutting reports.
Replying to a question on farmer suicide cases, Mohapatra said investigation into death of 122 farmers has been completed. The few cases of alleged suicide that were reported in the last couple of days have been sent to the Home Department.