Bhubaneswar, Oct 28:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday directed officials to begin disbursing subsidy on agricultural inputs to farmers in drought-affected areas by November 10.
The state government had decided to assess loss in non-irrigated drought-affected areas where no crop could be cultivated due to scanty rainfall, he said at a review meeting here.
The state government, which earlier announced 200 man days of work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), would provide additional 30 percent wages as drought allowance to the poor in Odisha.
“As a pro-poor pro-labour measure, the government will provide 30 percent additional wages as drought allowance for MGNREGS workers in drought-hit areas,” the chief minister said in a tweet.
With the government bearing the additional expenditure, each MGNREGS beneficiary was expected to get an additional Rs.30,000.
The chief minister also directed officials to stop collecting crop loans provided by cooperative societies in drought-affected areas.
The commercial banks have also been requested to take steps accordingly for the benefit of farmers.
The government recently announced extension in time limit for repaying crop loans as it decided to reschedule agricultural loans.
Patnaik also directed waiver of water cess this year in drought-hit areas.
The district collectors have been asked to engage retired experienced field officers to assess crop loss and disbursement of drought assistance, said a release from the Chief Minister’s Office.
The collectors would form teams of field officers of revenue, agriculture, cooperation and water resource departments to set up awareness and counselling camps at panchayat level in drought-affected areas.
They would not only provide drought package, but also inform police about exploitation by money lenders in their respective areas, said the release.
As suicide cases of farmers continue unabated, the chief minister directed that the district collector and superintendent of police concerned would conduct a joint inquiry and furnish a report to the Odisha government within 24 hours. (IANS)