Bhubaneswar: As Odisha receives a deficit monsoon rainfall, the Naveen Patnaik-led state government on Monday asked all the district collectors to take up all necessary action plans to mitigate the dry spell. During a high-level video conference, Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra along with the collectors, and other senior officials discussed the rainfall deficit during the monsoon period from June 1 to August 23 which has adversely affected agricultural activities.Also Read - Delhi Rains: 21% Surplus Rainfall Recorded This Monsoon, Says MeT Dept

The 30 blocks that spread over 15 different districts will require an action plan to avert the crisis, added Mohapatra. A source at the Special Relief Commissioner’s Office said that the state had received only 571 mm of rainfall since June against the anticipated 820.5 mm. At present, the average deficit rainfall is at minus 30.3 per cent. Also Read - Rainfall Activity to Drop in Northwest India From Monday, Light Rains Likely in Delhi

The eight districts that received rainfall between 39 per cent and 59 per cent are Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar, Angul, Boudh, Jajpur, and Bhadrak. HR Biswas, the Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre Director, said, “Odisha had been receiving continuous rainfall, but the volume is less than normal.” Also Read - Weather Update: IMD Predicts Intense Rainfall Over Northeast, Sikkim, Bihar Till August 15

Odisha recorded 16.6 per cent, 21.3 per cent and 53.1 per cent deficit rainfall in June, July, and August respectively. S K Vashisth, the principal secretary of agriculture and farmers’ empowerment department, explained that “thirty blocks in 15 districts are experiencing moisture stress condition, which has severely affected crops. There is, however, no drought situation anywhere”.

Vashisth, who attended the video conference, said that Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra had directed the collectors to ensure that agricultural workers get jobs under MGNREGA or in other state schemes, as and when required. In places, where paddy cultivation has suffered damage due to low rainfall, farmers would be encouraged to grow alternative crops amid the dry spell. The state seeds corporation has been told to help the farmers with requisite supply,” he underlined. Stressing that his department has prepared a contingency plan to help the distressed farmers, Vashist stated that the senior officials, during the meeting, also discussed ways to make the best use of the existing irrigation projects.

“The chief secretary has given directions for creation of 20 lakh more mandays in rain-deficit districts to provide employment to agricultural workers. The state has thus far created 10 lakh mandays under MGNREGA,” the principal secretary added.

(With Inputs from PTI)