Odisha to prepare protocol for drought mitigation

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 28: Odisha government today decided to prepare a protocol to face challenges caused by dry spells in the state which is a victim of drought at frequent intervals.

Presiding over the governing body meeting of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) Chief Secretary A P Padhi has asked the body to prepare a protocol to  successfully mitigate the menace of drought as in the case of floods and cyclones.

“Indian Meteorological Department usually issues monsoon forecast in May and June. Taking these information into consideration, we will plan to make sure the situation does not aggravate in October and November,” Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.

Noting that drought affected 28 of the state’s 30 districts in 2015, Mohapatra said dry spell damages crop once in every three to four years.

The protocol would be jointly prepared by departments like Panchayati Raj, Water Resources, Rural Development, Agriculture and others, he said.

The government would make plans and start supplying seeds to farmers without waiting till crop damage in October and November.

“After observing monsoon trend in the first three months, we would take action in time. The protocol will fix the timing of our action plan,” Mohapatra said.

The governing body also decided that cyclone shelters may be used for cultural functions, marriage and other programmes on rent, he said, adding the shelter management committees will now be headed by Sarpanches instead of Block Development Officers.

At present there are 850 cyclone shelters in the state.

The meeting also approved the decision taken at the state executive committee meeting of the OSDMA for formation of 10 additional Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force units which will become operational from April 1 this year.

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