BHUBANESWAR: Odisha is bearing the brunt of climate change with one part of the State struggling to recover from the ravages of cyclone Titli and another battling drought conditions due to deficit rainfall.
According to initial estimate, around 2.8 lakh hectare (ha) of crop area in 17 districts has suffered damage of 33 per cent or above due to the cyclone and subsequent floods while over 2.3 lakh ha of crop land in nine districts has been affected due to drought.
As many as 100 blocks in 19 districts had experienced a dry spell for three weeks and more. Of the 19 districts, extensive damage to crops was witnessed in Bargarh, Balangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh.
Quoting reports received from district Collectors, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi said 2,33,173.8 ha of crop land has been affected in the drought this season. “Farmers in 5,633 villages under 1186 panchayats of 66 blocks and 16 urban local bodies have sustained crops loss of 33 per cent and above due to moisture stress. Both paddy and vegetable crops have also been affected,” he said.
The State Drought Monitoring Cell (SDMC) functioning at Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) monitors the drought situation and studies different parameters as per the Manual for Drought Management, 2016.
While five blocks in Balangir and Sundargarh have been severely affected due to deficit rainfall, another 30 blocks in 12 districts experienced deficit rainfall of 19 per cent to 39 per cent. According to SDMC, there has been rainfall deviation of 39 per cent to 59 per cent in five blocks - Muribahal, Loisinga and Belapada in Balangir district, Sundargarh Sadar and Tangarapalli in Sundargarh district.
Accordingly, the Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment department and Collectors concerned were asked to conduct joint verification of crop conditions and submit a report in this regard.
“As per the report of Director of Agriculture and Food Production, the State Government has declared drought of moderate/severe nature in nine districts and a gazette notification has been issued. Collectors of affected districts have been asked to undertake relief measures in the notified areas,” the SRC added.