Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government on Thursday declared 13,032 villages spread over 19 districts of the State as drought affected.

Surya Narayan Patro, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister said that the drought declaration was made on the basis of the crop cutting experiment report received from the district collectors.

No area in Cuttack district was declared drought relief as the code of conduct enforced by the Election Commission in view of the March 18 Athgarh Assembly by-election, Patro added.

While Ganjam was the worst affected with 3,047 villages, 16 urban local bodies and 97 wards Sundergarh was least affected with only 7 villages.

Meanwhile Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced a relief package for the affected farmers. As per the announcement, the input subsidy to farmers other than small and marginal farmers had been increased to Rs 3,000 per hectare from Rs 2,000 in rain-fed areas.

Similarly, the input subsidy per hectare for areas under assured irrigation had been raised to Rs 6,000 per hectare from Rs 4,000 and Rs 8,000 per hectare for all types of perennial crops against the earlier rate of Rs 6,000 per hectare.

The short-term loan taken by the farmers in drought hit areas was converted to medium-term loan and the Government announced to waive off 50 per cent of the water and land cess, and the rest 50 per cent of the water and land cess would be collected next year without any interest.

Apart from this the Government has also decided to provide one kg of rice per day to every distress and poor adult and 500 gm of rice a day to children for a period of 60 days on the recommendation of local revenue authority in the drought hit areas.