Odisha government has directed district collectors to complete disbursement of agriculture input subsidy of Rs 718.5 crore to the farmers affected by drought, pest attack and unseasonal rain by December 15. As per assessment by the state government, about 8.5 lakh hectares of crop area had been affected by these three disasters which hit the farmers during the current year, a senior official said today. The state government have already issued the necessary notifications and released required fund of Rs 718.5 crore to the collectors of the 29 affected districts during October and November, he said adding that the process of disbursement of input subsidy has been stepped up. Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Maheswar Mohanty, who reviewed district-wise disbursement status through a video conferencing yesterday, said the Collectors have been asked to complete disbursement of input subsidy by December 15. Giving details about the recent disasters, a senior Revenue department official said while 15 districts were affected by drought, 24 districts were hit by pest attack and 19 by unseasonal rains. More than 33 per cent crop loss was recorded over an area of 317.98 lakh hectare due to drought, while pest attack affected 128.32 lakh hectare land and unseasonal rain hit 407.10 lakh hectare, he said. The state government has released input subsidy of Rs 216.22 crore for drought-affected farmers, Rs 137.51 crore for those hit by pest attack and Rs 364.76 crore for loss and damage caused by unseasonal rains, he said. Malkangiri is the only district that has escaped these disasters.
Meanwhile, the state government has taken necessary measures to deal with the cyclonic rain forecast by IMD in next few days and to spread awareness among the farmers to save their paddy crops, he said. According to director of the Meteorological Centre in Bhubaneswar, Sarat Chandra Sahoo, IMD has already issued advisory regarding possible rain in Odisha between December 7 and 10. The district collectors were asked to organise required publicity among farmers to save crops from the upcoming cyclonic rain. They may be advised to shift their harvested paddy to safe places and keep it properly stacked and covered to avoid any loss or damage due to rain. Where paddy crops are ready for harvest, they should take steps to harvest the same and store safely, said an official.