26 Bihar districts declared drought-hit


Patna : Twenty six of Bihar’s 38 districts were declared drought-hit Monday in view of scanty rainfall that has badly hit transplanting of paddy seedlings and affected millions of farmers, officials said.

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The state government has also announced steps to deal with the drought, including additional diesel subsidy and suspension of loan recovery.

Official sources said that the decision was taken in a special cabinet meeting Monday. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had called an all-party meeting Sunday where representatives of the parties assessed the situation and agreed to the proposal to declare at least 26 districts drought-hit.

The decision came after the ministers in charge of each district, who had been asked to assess the situation, submitted their reports.

The districts declared drought-hit include Siwan, Bhojpur, Gaya, Nalanda, Jehanabad, Rohtas, Vaishali, Saran, Begusarai, Arwal, Aurangabad, Nawada, Patna and Kaimur.

Bihar has recorded a 42 percent rainfall deficit so far this monsoon season. This has hit the transplanting of paddy seedlings.

“The state during the period between June 1 and Aug 6 had received just 331.7 mm of rainfall against the average 568.5 mm — a deficiency of 42 percent. It has resulted in 58 percent decline in paddy transplantation,” an agriculture department official said.

Bihar had targeted sowing of paddy in 8,772,241 acres this year, but the crop could only be planted in only 3,822,967 acres so far.