Deficit monsoon sparks drought fear in Odisha's Ganjam

Situation to turn grim if dist doesn’t receive adequate rain in one week 
Parched farmland in Khambarigaon panchayat of Digapahandi block | Express
Parched farmland in Khambarigaon panchayat of Digapahandi block | Express

BERHAMPUR:  The spectre of drought looms large over Ganjam which is grappling with deficient rainfall this year. Scanty rain coupled with a lack of irrigation facilities has left farmers of the district in a state of distress. Agriculture officials said the situation will worsen if the district does not receive adequate rain within a week.

Sources said this year, the administration set a target to bring 4.05 lakh hectare (ha) of land under cultivation including 1.79 ha for paddy. But due to less rainfall, hardly 23 per cent paddy transplantation work has been completed in the district so far.

In June, Ganjam received 79.50 mm rainfall against the normal of 168.3 mm. Despite the scanty rains, farmers started work for paddy cultivation. But in July, the rainfall was 191.33 mm against the normal of 220.8 mm. In August so far, the district received only 9 mm rainfall against the normal of 48 mm.

Adding to the rain deficit worry of farmers, the reservoirs in the district are yet to release water to canals. Additional chief engineer of Irrigation Department Sanjiv Dasburma said water level in all the reservoirs of the district has reduced due to lack of adequate rain. In absence of irrigation water, cracks have appeared in low-lying agricultural lands where paddy saplings were transplanted last month. The worst affected blocks are Rangeilunda, Kodala, Khalikote, Patrapur, Hinjili, Digapahandi, Chhatrapur and Ganjam.

According to the official report on the extent of agriculture coverage in kharif season, the lowest 13 per cent (pc) was recorded in Ganjam block followed by 15 pc in Hinjili and 20 pc each in Digapahandi and Sanakhemundi. Over 45 per cent agriculture coverage was reported in Bhanjanagar, Jagannathprasad, Patrapur and Chikiti blocks.

Secretary of Rushikulya Rayat Mahasabha Simanchal Nahak said in absence of water, farmlands have dried up and green saplings turned grey. “The state government should prepare a contingency plan for farmers of the district,” he added. Chief district agriculture officer (CDAO) Subrat Sahu said officials have been asked to visit the affected areas and guide farmers accordingly. 

Farm crisis

Target was set to bring 4.05 lakh ha land under cultivation including 1.79 ha for paddy

Due to less rainfall, hardly 23 per cent paddy transplantation work completed in the  district so far

The reservoirs are yet to release water to canals

In absence of irrigation water, cracks have appeared in low-lying agricultural lands 

Worst affected blocks are Rangeilunda, Kodala, Khalikote, Patrapur, Hinjili, Digapahandi, Chhatrapur and Ganjam

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