orissa has again suffered another set back. Vast areas of western Orissa, particularly Kalahandi, Bolangir, Nuapada, Sonepur, Jharsuguda and Bargarh districts are reeling under drought conditions. The crop damage has been more than 50 per cent in over 26,700 villages of these districts. The state government has asked the Union government to provide a sum of Rs 450 crore to combat the situation. The drought has delivered a severe blow to the state's economy, apart from causing widespread human grief and pushing hundreds of people close to starvation deaths.
Even though the state government claims that there have not been any starvation deaths, media reports indicate that more than a 100 people have died out of starvation in the drought-affected districts. The drought has led to heavy weed infestation, poor plant stand, shrivelling and drying of grains, drastic fall in production of autumn rice, impaired growth and significant drip in ground water levels. It has caused serious economic loss to the farmers, most of whom are unable to repay the crop loans or purchase the required inputs.
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