Half of Orissa in grip of severe drought

Half of Orissa in grip of severe drought

Even last weeks heavy rainfall failed to improve situation

The report, prepared on the basis of information gathered from district collectors, has said as much as 15 out of 30 revenue districts have been hit by scanty rainfall this season.

Even the severe rain that continued for three days last week did little to improve the situation, as the rainfall was mostly over the coastal region, some pockets of which have also been hit by the drought.

Nearly  10,336 revenue villages under 90 blocks of the 15 districts have been affected by the drought, the report claims, with the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj being the worst hit. About 2,460 villages in the district are facing drought.

Besides Mayurbhanj, western Orissa’s Angul and Sundergarh districts, with 1,762 and 1,651 villages respectively falling short of water, have also been severely hit by droughts.

The state government has already started work on a package, including financial compensation, which it would distribute after receiving reports from all the district collectors. Given the differences between the Naveen Patnaik-led state government and the Centre, it is not clear if the state would ask the Centre for assistance to handle the drought.

State revenue minister Surya Narayan Patra has indicated recently that the state would provide compensation on its own to the drought-hit farmers.

“The Centre has not yet fully release compensations for earlier natural disasters to hit the state. So what is the point in asking for more funds,” Patra maintained.