With a drought-like situation staring at half of Odisha, the State government has drawn up a contingency action plan while directing the power distribution companies to ensure uninterrupted power supply at the lift irrigation and bore well channels across the State.
“The situation has worsened in at least 30 blocks of 15 districts as these areas received below normal rainfall this year. The moisture stress condition in the affected blocks has hit the Kharif farming in these areas. If it does not rain in the next seven days, the situation may aggravate further. Therefore, the State has drawn up a contingency plan and has alerted the district collectors to effectively tackle the situation and come to the aid of affected Kharif growers”, said Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra who reviewed the situation in a high-level meeting here today.
The State has reported a 28.8% deficit rainfall this year. Fifteen districts worst affected by deficit rainfall are Rayagada (5 blocks), Dhenkanal and Angul (4 blocks each), Keonjhar (3 blocks), Bolangir, Jajpur, and Boudh (2 blocks each), Bhadrak, Ganjam, Gajapati, Sambalpur, Nabarangpur, Nayagarh, and Jharsuguda (1 block each).
In view of the emergent situation, the district collectors of all the 30 districts have been directed to ensure that all irrigation, lift irrigation, and bore well points are kept activated with an uninterrupted power supply, he said.
There should be a uniform distribution of canal water on a rotation basis with an emphasis on farmers on the tail endpoints of the canal irrigation network receiving water for their croplands.
The contingency plan is being worked out at the block and gram panchayat level with officials being directed to provide logistic support for alternate cash crops to farmers in the badly affected areas.
The district collectors have also been asked to generate additional 20 lakh man-days for farm labourers whose livelihood is at stake due to the prevailing situation, he added.
According to the Bhubaneswar Regional Centre of the India Meteorological Department,
As many as 27 out of 30 districts in the State have reported deficit rainfall of around 20 to 59 percent during the current monsoon. The State has recorded 584.3 mm of average rainfall between June 1 and August 23, the State’s actual precipitation has been hit by a 31 percent deficit.
The weak and erratic monsoon has adversely affected agrarian areas across the State while the government is yet to declare any of the 30 districts in the State as drought-hit.
There are reports of cracks emerging in croplands as rain eludes. The paddy saplings have turned yellow in major parts of the State which reported severe deficit rainfall. The drought situation looms large in at least 30 blocks of 15 districts in the event it does not rain consistently and steadily in the coming week.