With state officials making an acknowledgement, the grim situation in Bihar could be heading for a drought. With monsoon being delayed in Nitish Kumar’s state by over 2 weeks, all that was witnessed was scanty rain fall. The state has recorded only 89 mm of rainfall, much lower than the expected 159 mm.
“If the monsoon fails the state in the first two weeks of July, the situation may be near drought,” stated official sources. “Till date, the state has witnessed a rainfall deficit of 44 percent,” said DC Gupta, director of state meteorology department adding that the weakening of monsoon could be because no trough line passed over the state.
Farmers in Bihar are stated to have had a dismal year following scanty monsoon. Adding to their woes are dry cracked land, parched water bodies and a rainfall deficit of 44%. “The situation is grim. We badly need heavy monsoon rains but the clouds are missing. There is no water for paddy sowing,” said Dharmesh Singh, a farmer hailing from Naubatpur, Patna.
Mukul Prasad from Phulwari Sharif Block, Patna said, “I am still waiting for heavy monsoon rains because it is the only answer to our plight.” Bihar has an estimate of 70 million people, who depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
Bihar’s Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh stated that the state machinery is ready to face the situation, if necessity arose. “The government had already released Rs 200 crore from the contingency fund to be disbursed among farmers as diesel subsidy. The government has approved Rs 619.75 crore for providing diesel subsidy. The move is to provide relief to the farmers grappling with low rainfall till date in June,” Singh said. He also stated that the move would bring about ample relief to kharif crop growers. Bihar’s agricultural department has set aside 38 lakh hectares for paddy, 2.7 lakh hectares for maize and 1.5 lakh hectares for oilseeds.
The state has faced similar situation before, with 26 districts of the state being declared drought hit in 2009 and 38 districts declared in 2010.
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