12 districts in Odisha declared drought-hit

The Odisha government on Wednesday evening declared 12 out of 30 revenue districts in the state as drought-hit.

Scanty rainfall in all these districts has led to crop loss in more than two lakh hectares of agricultural land.

Costal Khurda district has been worst hit by drought with crop loss in 66,540 hectares.
“The drought due to shortage of rainfall has so far affected 107 blocks in 12 districts.

However, there may be some improvement in the situation if the state receives rainfall in the rest of the current month of October,” the revenue and disaster management minister Bijoyshree Routray said.

The government on Wednesday evening also declared a Rupees 1,000 crore package to handle the drought situation. The package includes financial assistance and subsidy for small and marginal farmers. It also includes relaxation in the repayment of agricultural loan besides heavily subsidised food for affected farmers for two months.

Meanwhile, incidents of suicide by farmers continued in the state for the sixth consecutive day on Wednesday. Six farmers have so far committed suicide in the last six days.

The districts from where these cases have been reported include Bargarh, Bolangir and Sambalpur in western Odisha and Khurda in the coastal region.

The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government have already come under severe criticism from opposition parties who have charged the administration of not handling the drought properly.

“The farmers are dying because of mismanagement by the state government,” said Pradesh Congress Committee  chief Prasad Harichandan.

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