Central team to visit Odisha again to assess drought condition

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 27:

Yet another central government team would tour Odisha to assess the drought condition. The inter-ministerial central team might come here in the first or second week of December.

Pic Courtesy: www.livemint.com
Pic Courtesy: www.livemint.com

The visit will follow the State Government’s request for interim drought relief of Rs 1,687 crore. It will assess the impact of drought in the state and submit a report to the Union Agriculture Ministry.

“The Union Agriculture Ministry has constituted an inter-ministerial team of nine members following our submission of memorandum (interim) on drought 2015. We have received the order that the team will tour Odisha next week or the week following that. We have prepared a final draft on drought and will present it to them,” said Special Relief Commissioner PK Mohapatra speaking to reporters today.

State politics today went abuzz with each major party taking pot-shots at the other after news of the visit broke.

“The first tour of the central team was a political one. They clearly had political intentions and we knew that. We haven’t even received a rupee in assistance after that tour. Other states, however, were provided with interim assistance. The Central Government should at least announce an interim grant before the team visits,” said BJD Spokesperson Sameer Dash.

“The Central Government is sending a team to assess the situation. Once they prepare their report, the state would certainly get its due whatever amount it is,” countered BJP Odisha President KV Singhdeo.

Meanwhile, Congress’s Narasingha Mishra, the witty Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly rapped both the parties over the issue.

“If the center is sending its team for the second time, was the first tour a farce or was it politically motivated! Besides, the State Government should have been serious beforehand. It should have demanded a visit by a central team earlier and presented them with the facts about the drought condition in the state,” said Mishra.

Notably, a five-member central team, led by Union Additional Commissioner of Agriculture RP Malik visited the state on October 7 to assess the situation. The team was formed by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh based on a request from Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

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